1. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto; A Memoir, Copyright © www.bhutto.org 1
ZULFIKAR ALI BHUTTO
Chakar Ali Junejo
Sani H. Panhwar
Member Sindh Council, PPP
2. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto; A Memoir, Copyright © www.bhutto.org 2
My People .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 7
The Bhuttos .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 11
Jan Mohammed Junejo & Sir Shahnawaz Bhutto .. .. 14
My Early Days .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 19
First Meeting With Z. A. Bhutto .. .. .. .. .. 22
Days In London .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 28
Back Home 1952-57 .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 33
Pakistan’s Spokesman In The UN .. .. .. .. 38
Ayub Khan’s Minister .. .. .. .. .. .. 41
The Kashmir Delegations .. .. .. .. .. .. 47
The 1965 War And After .. .. .. .. .. .. 51
Revolt Against Ayub .. .. .. .. .. .. 54
The PPP Is Born .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 60
Movement Against Ayub .. .. .. .. .. .. 66
Breaking-Up of Pakistan .. .. .. .. .. .. 73
Bhutto’s Pakistan .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 79
The Martyr .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 84
Mr. Bhutto’s Political Legacy .. .. .. .. .. 87
3. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto; A Memoir, Copyright © www.bhutto.org 3
I dedicate this book to
Daughter of Shaheed Zulfikar
Daughter of the East
Chakar Ali Junejo
4. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto; A Memoir, Copyright © www.bhutto.org 4
Mr. Chakar Ali Junejo was a trusted companion of Quaid-i-Awam Zulfikar Ali
Bhutto for more than 35 years. He saw him from very close quarters and became
a fervent admirer of the Shaheed. In his memoirs he has thrown light on many
new and endearing aspects of his friend and leader’s character and personality
which make this book a document of historical interest.
This biographical volume has a value all its own and we are sure it will be
appreciated for that quality by it’s readers. It brings under one cover a multitude
of incidents and events portraying the Shaheed, first as a young man and then as
the head of a family, a politician, a sensitive human being, a leader of men, and,
finally, as a brave hero who embraced martyrdom for the sake of his principles
and the love of his people.
We are grateful to Ahmed Salim for taking great pains to put Mr Junejo’s
thoughts and observations into writing. This translation from Urdu was done by
Islamabad May 1996
5. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto; A Memoir, Copyright © www.bhutto.org 5
My association with Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto began in my days of youth. We
were students together in the alien atmosphere of Britain. This association lasted
physically till his death, but will go on in spirit as long as I am alive.
For a long time it had been my earnest desire to record my memories of Mr.
Bhutto, for I wanted to tell the people about the affection and regard with which
he treated an ordinary political worker. All my life I was associated with him, his
revered daughter and the Pakistan People’s Party. I wanted to leave a record of
this association, so that my children and the coming generations should know
what this association meant to me, and how Mr. Bhutto and I kept up the contact
established between our respective elders. But whenever I sat down to write,
some hitch or hurdle would stand in my way. Then an accident rendered me
incapable of doing anything in the matter.
I had begun to lose all hope of ever completing this work when, in this state of
hopelessness, I went one day to call on Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto at Naudero.
There she asked her Press Assistant, Mr. Farhatullah Babar, to have my
impressions about the Shaheed recorded and published. Mr. Farhatullah Babar
requested Mr. Fakhar Zaman to make some arrangement in this regard.
Fakhar Sahib deputed the writer Ahmed Salim for this assignment. It is my good
fortune that M.r Ahmed Salim proved to be the right man for this onerous task.
Since he was the author of many books on Mr. Bhutto and the PPP, the subject
was not new for him. In a fortnight or so he ended his recording sessions with
me, and, in hardly a month, he had produced an excellent manuscript.
This book is now before you. I have spoken in it nothing but the truth about Mr.
Bhutto. Our association began during our student days, and, so far as I am
concerned, it still persists. I cannot claim that the Shaheed and I were intimate
friends. But, despite the constraints of protocol, I was quite close to him, though
our connection was that of a leader and his follower. Mr. Bhutto always made
much of his workers and even pampered them. During his time I remained
chairman of the Larkana Branch of the PPP. Larkana was very important for Mr.
Bhutto and he wanted a man there he could implicitly trust.
After Mr. Bhutto, his distinguished daughter has reposed the same trust in me,
and, because of this trust I have been respected and honoured. As a humble
worker of the party I have endeavored to look closely at Mr. Bhutto in this book.
6. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto; A Memoir, Copyright © www.bhutto.org 6
I could have boasted and might even have told untruths, but that would not
have detracted from the great personality of Mr. Bhutto, and would only have
exposed me as a small man.
I have tried to narrate with exactness the details of all my meetings with Mr.
Bhutto. This exactness and truth I now place before the reader. I am most
grateful to Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto for her kindness in thinking that my
memories of her illustrious father could be of interest to his countless admirers.
I thank Mr. Farhatullah Babar and Mr. Fakhar Zaman for making it possible for
me to make my dream come true. My special thanks are due to Mr. Ahmed Salim
who reminded me of so many events during our long conversations. Because of
his deep knowledge of Mr. Bhutto’s life and personality he ensured that there
should be no errors in dates and other information.
The number of Mr. Bhutto’s workers is legion. But time takes its toll, and, one by
one, they are departing this world, carrying in their hearts memories of the
Shaheed. It is a need of the time that their impressions and memories too should
be recorded for posterity. I can only hope that somehow that will be possible.
Chakar Ali Junejo
7. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto; A Memoir, Copyright © www.bhutto.org 7
My people originally migrated from Rajputana (modern Rajasthan in India). My
best-known ancestor was Chakar Khan after whom I was named and who first
settled in Nawabshah District of Sindh where he was allotted agricultural land.
After some time he decided to found a home in Rato Dero Taluqa of Larkana
District, but then he gave up the idea and finally opted for a locality called
Dhamra in Larkana Taluqa. Here Chakar Khan developed barren land and
settled his people on it.
Dhamra was barely a hamlet and its population was just a few souls. Chakar
Khan and his family made it populous and it flourished because of the
agricultural development initiated by him. Chakar Khan was a big landowner
with a commanding personality. Being the leader of the village he was qualified
to impose fines on the local people and was very strict in this matter. His
exaction took the name of “Chakar’s chatti or tax”, chatti being the Sindhi (and
Punjabi) word for such penalties.
The Junejo tribe is found in many parts of Sindh, but their bigger concentrations
are in Tharparkar area, though we are not related to any of the families there.
Ever since our people came to Dhamra and lived here, they didn’t go anywhere
else and became permanent settlers of the place.
My grandfather, Haji Karim Bakhsh was also a zamindar — a landowner. The
Sukkur Barrage had not yet been constructed and the traditional methods of
irrigation were still in vogue. My father, Sahib Khan, was also inclined to land-
farming. At that time education in English had yet to become common, and in
the village Sindhi and Persian were taught in the madressah. My father learned
to read and write Sindhi and devoted himself to cultivation. However, my uncle
Jan Muhammad, who became a great man in his time, was fanatically inclined
towards modern education. After the requisite studies at the local level, he
proceeded to England and there, in 1912, qualified as barrister-at-law.
At the same period, the uncle of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was also reading
law in London, and they developed great mutual liking which developed into
close friendship. When I went to England to study law, Bhutto Sahib (the late
Zulfikar Ali) was also there after completing his education in America. He was
senior to me by a year. He often used to say to me, “Chakar Ali, your uncle and
8. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto; A Memoir, Copyright © www.bhutto.org 8
my uncle passed their barristership from this place, and here we are doing the
same in London.”
It is worthy of note that in the late 19th century and in the beginning of the
twentieth there was very little social contact between the Junejos and the Bhuttos,
and the two uncles had come close to each other for the first time in London.
Actually our relationship was much more developed with the Khuhros who also
belonged to Larkana.
Here I should like to speak in some detail about my uncle Jan Muhammad Junejo.
He was born in 1886 in Dhamra. Initially he studied Sindhi and Persian in the
village but he was not the one to confine himself to a village. He insisted on
being educated in English and succeeded in his desire. After that he went away
to England to study law and came back a barrister in 1912. It is said that among
Sindhi Muslims my uncle was the second young man to become a bar-at-law. He
started practice in Karachi and then moved to Larkana for the same purpose.
Soon he was granted the chair of Sardari (chiefship), he became a municipal
commissioner and a member of the local board. It seemed that he was headed for
success in every way, but he soon became deeply immersed in the freedom
movement of Muslims and played an effective role in the Muslim League, the
Khilafat Movement and the Hijrat Campaign.
It is a matter of historical record that when Rais Ghulam Muhammad Bhurgari
instituted a branch of the Sindh Muslim League in Larkana, my uncle was one of
its first members. Similarly when, in 1918, Sheikh Abdul Aziz called a conference
in Sukkur and made plans to start an Anglo-Arabic school, my uncle fell in with
the idea with enthusiasm and even announced two scholarships for students.
However, with the Khilafat Movement warming up, the project could not be
The British Government was arranging a grand celebration to mark the break-up
of the Ottoman Empire, in November 1919. The All India Muslim Conference
decided to boycott the celebration and announced the observance of the First
Khilafat Day all over India. Consequently in Sindh, with the cooperation of my
uncle and Pir Turab Ali Shah, a public meeting was organised opposite his
bungalow and a Day of Prayer was observed for the Turkish Muslims. On 4
January, 1920 for the first time a Khilafat meeting was held in Hyderabad and
my uncle delivered a fiery speech. Similarly, because of his efforts, a Khilafat
Conference was staged in Larkana under the chairmanship of Pir Jhanda Sahib.
This was in February 1920.
My father, incidentally, was totally devoted to his lands and had no interest in
politics, but in our family no one had any objection to the activities of my uncle.
9. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto; A Memoir, Copyright © www.bhutto.org 9
Like him, my father too was a member of the District Local Board and an
honorary magistrate. It was the policy of the British rulers to keep landlords
satisfied by showering them with honours and appointments. Along with
zamindars they adopted the same policy with the prominent pirs and gaddi
nashins in order to elicit their support and cooperation. So when the Sehwan
Khilafat Conference was called in April 1920, and the resolution was passed that
(India being ruled by heretics) Muslims should do hijrat and migrate to Kabul,
my uncle was not to be left behind. In the Jacobabad Khilafat Conference be
called for a boycott of the British Indian government. He volunteered to give up
his chair of sardari, his municipal commissionership and membership of the local
board and went to the extent of offering to surrender his barrister’s degree. He
also refused to pay land revenue. Because of his bold attitude in the matter he
was appointed Secretary of the Sindh Hijrat Committee, while Pir Turab Ali Shah
Rashdi was voted its chairman.
My uncle was not only the pioneer of higher education and new ideas in our
family but he also initiated a kind of people’s politics for the first time. This very
people’s politics later on became the cause of my alignment with the late Zulfikar
Ali Bhutto. Because of my uncle’s political activities we had to suffer some
hardships too, and at one stage irrigation water was denied to our lands. The
intention was to make him give up preparations for hijrat — voluntarily
immigration. I am proud to say however that he refused to do so and in July 1920,
a special train left Larkana in which some 700 muhajireen journeyed towards
Kabul under his leadership. On 19 July 1920, this caravan of voluntary migrants
arrived in Kabul. Even now my uncle is remembered as Rais-ul-Muhajireen—
leader of the migrants—because of participation in that act.
After some time my uncle returned home for political work and toured many
cities of India in the company of Maulana Muhammad Ali Jauhar in the Civil
Disobedience Movement. When he returned to Larkana in the last days of
November, he was served with a notice by the Judicial Commissioner of Sindh to
show cause why action should not be taken against him for his speeches in
Karachi and Jacobabad. My uncle made a unique reply to the show cause notice.
He claimed to be now a citizen of Afghanistan and a representative of Indian
migrants to that country. If the government wanted a clarification (he said) it was
welcome to write to the Government of Afghanistan through the Bombay
After this he resumed his activities again, and participated in the Ajmer Khilafat
Conference along with Maulana Muhammad Ali Jauhar. There he was overtaken
by a bad fever because of which he could not attend the conference but sent his
written speech to be read out there. The fever assumed dangerous proportions
10. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto; A Memoir, Copyright © www.bhutto.org 10
and, on 16 April, 1921, he passed away, and was buried in Ajmer near the Safar
I have mentioned my uncle’s activities at some length, so as to make it clear that
the roots of my participation in people’s politics go down deep and they have a
long history. Along with this I also wish to talk about my family’s relationship
with the Khuhro family. As I have mentioned before, there have been deep and
sustained contacts between the two families whereas this was not so in the case
of the Bhuttos. And yet a strange situation cropped up; the Zulfikar Ali Bhutto
who inflicted a resounding defeat on Khan Bahadur Muhammad Ayub Khuhro
in the 1970 election was my guide and mentor and, at the same time, I was
managing the election campaign of Khuhro because of our intimate family
Let me state here that the man who prevailed upon Ayub Khuhro to enter
politics was my father who had never been active as a politician. Khuhro’s own
father, Shah Muhammad Khuhro, was chary of joining politics. When Ayub
Khuhro passed his matriculation exam and entered D. J. College, Karachi, and
was still a student of Intermediate, my father met his elder uncle Dost
Muhammad and said to him, “This boy is very intelligent. He should be in
politics.” That is where the doors of politics were opened on him. Later of course,
in the company of Sir Shah Nawaz Bhutto, he played an important role in the
separation of Sindh from Bombay Presidency, which our history duly records.
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was born on 5 January 1928. It is a coincidence that I too was
born in the same year. On the other hand Ayub Khuhro at that time had been a
member of the Bombay Legislative Assembly for five years, and in 1929 he had
initiated the campaign for the separation of Sindh from Bombay. It is one of the
ironies of fate that this veteran and experienced political leader had to suffer
defeat at the hands of Mr. Bhutto after 40 years.
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My knowledge of the Bhuttos, their history, their racial and tribal status and their
coming into Sindh is based on whatever I had heard on the subject from Mr.
Bhutto himself, and what he in turn had been told by his elders. According to
family lore, his forefathers had migrated to Sindh from Sarsa in Hissar District
(now in India) some 300 years ago, probably during the reign of the Mughal
Emperor Aurangzeb Alamgir. The location where Mitha Khan and Sata Khan,
ancestors of the Bhutto family, settled, came to be known as “Mitha Khan’s
Place”. The Kalhoras were the ruling dynasty in Sindh at that time, and as
matters developed, Mitha Khan fought many a battle on behalf of the Kalhoras
with the local rebellious tribes. Mitha Khan’s son Pir Bakhsh also made a name
for himself in valour against these tribes. However, after the death of his father,
Pir Bakhsh decided to make Mirpur the family home where he constructed a fort
for his people’s use. The present Bhutto family is descended from his son Dodo
Dodo Khan had three sons: Ilahi Bakhsh, Khuda Bakhsh and Amir Bakhsh.
Khuda Bakhsh Bhutto who gave the name to the present Garhi Khuda Bakhsh
(where Mr Bhutto is buried) was born in’182l . This was the time when the
Talpur Mirs were in--the ascendance. The lands of the Bhuttos extended from
Larkana right up to Khairpur and Jacobabad. Mr. Bhutto talked with me about
these lands many times, and later he used to relate the history of their acquisition
and what they meant to the family and to his children too. Benazir and the other
children used to listen with rapt attention when he narrated the story of how Sir
Charles Napier toured many parts of Sindh after its annexation by the British in
It is said that every day after covering a considerable distance, Napier would ask
his Sindhi guide, “Who owns this land?” and every time the answer would be
“The Bhuttos”. At one stage he told the man, “I’m tired and want to sleep. When
we come to the place where the Bhutto lands finish, wake me up.” The guide
didn’t have to do so, and as Napier got up from a long spell of sleep he was
amazed to learn that they were still in “Bhutto territory”.
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Of course you must have heard about the message that Charles Napier sent to
the Governor General at Calcutta after Sindh had capitulated. It was a one word
message in Latin “Peccavi” which means “I have sinned”. The pun on
sinned/Sindh was intended to convey the news of his success.
The legend goes that the 250,000 acres of Bhutto land had shrunk to 50,000 acres
after the British rule began in Sindh. I never heard from Mr. Bhutto whether his
ancestors had supported the Talpur or the British when Sindh was struggling to
retain its freedom, but historians do say that the three brothers—Khuda Bakhsh,
Ilahi Bakhsh and Amir Bakhsh, never occupied a seat of honour in the British
Darbar nor were they rewarded or awarded anything.
Ghulam Murtaza, the son of Khuda Bakhsh, and grandfather of Zulfikar Ali
Bhutto, was a story-book character. A great romantic, he inspired the love of
many ladies in Sindh, including that of a young girl from Britain. This was
naturally looked upon with great disfavour by the local British rulers, and the
English Collector of Shikarpur in particular, who could not countenance an affair
between a Muslim land lord and an Englishwoman. Because of his indiscretions,
Ghulam Murtaza was involved in extended litigation and was obliged to roam
from place to place. This story has been told by many people in their own
manner, but I would like to repeat it in Mr. Bhutto’s own words in which he
narrated it to his children, because that is bound to be nearest to the truth and
without the embellishment of rumour:
The British officer was not impressed by the fact that he was posted in the
Bhutto’s ancestral home, Larkana, where their lands lay as far as the eye
could reach. His compatriots had no realisation of our family glory and
greatness. All that mattered to them was that we were brown. The British
Colonel summoned your great-grandfather Ghulam Murtaza before him
and asked, “How dare you have such friendship and relations with a
British lady? I’m going to teach you a lesson”. Saying this he picked up a
whip and was about to lash Ghulam Murtaza with it but your great-
grandfather caught hold of the whip and began to belabour the Colonel
with it. Shouting for help the officer took refuge under his table, and
Ghulam Murtaza left his office. “Flee somewhere”, was the advice of
everyone of Ghulam Murtaza’s friends and relations, “The British will not
let you live”. So your grandfather, accompanied by a few trusted
companions and the British lady, who didn’t want to leave him alone in
his distress, went away from Larkana.
The government’s men chased Ghulam Murtaza with determination. He
had to order his party to disperse. “Some of you come with me, the others
should go with the lady”, he ordered, “but not at any price should she be
13. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto; A Memoir, Copyright © www.bhutto.org 13
handed over to the British officials. Now it is a point of honour with us.”
So he and his companions spread out on both sides of the Indus to evade
capture. At one stage the pursuers came dangerously close to the party
which was going with the English lady because she could not keep up
good speed on a horse. This party managed to hide themselves in a cave
and placed tree branches and bushes at its mouth, but the official force
found out the hiding place. Your great-grandfather’s men had promised
not to let the lady fall in the hands of the British, so in desperation they
engaged their pursuers in a fight and killed them.
After this started a long life of exile for Ghulam Murtaza, first he went to the
Amirs of Bahawalpur for refuge, but when the British threatened the Amirs with
annexation of their state he fled towards Afghanistan. The rulers took their
revenge by confiscating all his lands. The family residences and valuables were
auctioned away. Official vengeance would have been extended but an
opportunity for a settlement cropped up and Ghulam Murtaza was enabled to
return to Larkana. However, soon afterwards he died because of an intake of
poison which remains a mystery. He was only 27 years old at the time of his
death. This was Ghulam Murtaza, the grandfather of my leader Zulfikar Ali
The deceased had two sons, Shahnawaz and Ali Gohar. The British government
extended the hand of friendship towards them which was accepted with the
same spirit of goodwill.
14. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto; A Memoir, Copyright © www.bhutto.org 14
JAN MOHAMMED JUNEJO SIR SHAHNAWAZ BHUTTO
When we were together in England, Mr. Bhutto often used to talk about my
uncle, Jan Mohammed Junejo. And as is but natural the conversation would also
turn on his uncle and his father. At that time I am amazed at the fact that where
my uncle’s story ended because of his death, the history of the meteoric rise and
successes of Sir Shahnawaz Bhutto began. In a way there was a lot of difference
between the mental make-up and way of life of the two personalities. Sir
Shahnawaz had begun to look at people and events somewhat circumspectly and
pragmatically because of the enforced exile of his own father at the hands of the
British and his death in mysterious circumstances in the bloom of his youth. He
had to play an important role for the salvation of the Muslims of Sindh and also
to protect himself and his family from the buffets of fortune. Therefore he and
other young men of the Bhutto clan adopted the path of friendship with the
British. The latter too felt the need for the Bhutto’s cooperation for, after the
Amirs of Sindh, they were the most influential family in this area.
Prior to this the elders of the family had tended to keep their distance from the
British, but when the gulf between the two was shortened and consequently their
proximity increased, the interests of the rulers led to a blossoming of the fortunes
of the Bhuttos. Their star was now in the ascendant.
In contrast, my uncle had chosen the path of confrontation with the rulers and
did not permit any flexibility in his stern attitude towards them. He had put at
stake everything he had—his position, his wealth, his influence and his social
power—to pursue this path. He participated from the bottom of his heart in
movements like the hiJrat, Khilafat and other emotional concerns of the Muslims.
His way was the way of non co-operation which was the most popular
movement of the freedom-loving people of India, and Muslim leaders too were
offering all kinds of sacrifices to pursue it.
Let me make it quite clear that the Bhutto family looked with favour at my
uncle’s struggle for independence, although many people in Sindh were of the
opinion that relations with the British rulers should not be spoiled on any
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account. If they covertly supported the political methods of my uncle they also
criticised them as extremism.
Sir Shahnawaz was born on 3 March 1888 and his brother Ali Gohar on 4 Match
1889. They were still in their infancy when fate took away their father Ghulam
Murtaza. However, as they grew up they soon began to make their presence felt,
and along with maintaining cordial relations with the British, they developed
close and friendly contacts with the prominent persons of Larkana and Sindh. Sir
Shahnawaz was elected chairman of the District Board, Larkana, in 1920, and it
goes to his credit as a popular public man that he continued in this post till 1934.
During these fourteen years he did a lot to meaningfully transform the fortunes
of the people of Larkana.
In 1921 Sir Shahnawaz had also been elevated as a member of the Bombay
Legislative Assembly (Sindh was then part of Bombay province). In that capacity
too he served the masses of Sindh for fourteen years along with representing the
landlords of his area. The same year, i.e. in 1921, two events took place; Sir
Shahnawaz was granted the title of Khan Bahadur and my uncle breathed his
I may state that two years earlier, in 1919, Shahnawaz Bhutto had already been
awarded the Order of the British Empire (O.B.E) and from that point had started
his constructive relationship with the British. More honours were showered on
him, and in 1925 he was made Commander of the Indian Empire (C.I.E) and then
he was knighted in 1930 and thus came to be called Sir Shahnawaz. Now he had
reached the position from where he could effectively and purposefully campaign
for the separation of Sindh from Bombay.
Khan Bahadur Mohammed Ayub Khuhro, who had warm and abiding
relationship with our family, had already commenced his efforts towards the
institution of Sindh as a separate province. He was now joined with great
enthusiasm and fervour by Sir Shahnawaz. Mr Bhutto used to tell me how,
during the Round Table Conference of 1931, his father had worked day and
night for securing a distinct provincial status for Sindh. Sometimes it seemed that
he had come into this world with this one mission. He participated in the Round
Table Conference as leader of the four-member delegation of Sindhi Muslims
and was a member of four subcommittees.
The result of all these efforts and hard labour was that the British Government
was obliged to announce in 1932 that in the future federal set-up of India, Sindh
would be a separate province. In 1934 Sir Shahnawaz was appointed minister for
local self-government in the government of Bombay. Even during his
ministership be continued to campaign for Sindh as a province in its own right.
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In 1936, at the Round Table Conference in London again, he led the Muslim
delegation, and was gratified to find that all concerned, and the British
government in particular, were in favour of separate Sindh province. While
numerous leaders of public opinion had worked towards the granting of
provincial status to Sindh, and among them Mohammed Ayub Khuhro had been
in the vanguard, the general consensus was (as is confirmed by Faiz Mohammad
Soomro) that this was the first success in the struggle for attainment of
independence waged by the Muslim politicians of Sindh and that most of the
credit for it went to Sir Shahnawaz Bhutto.
When Sindh was formally separated from Bombay and became a full-fledged
province in April 1936, Sir Shahnawaz was appointed its first Chief Adviser.
Along with involving himself in work for the welfare of the common man, one of
his outstanding achievements was to get the British Government to agree to
releasing the Pir of Pagara’s father (the then Pir) from Ratnagiri Jail. The British
were not happy at Sir Shahnawaz’s advocacy of the late Pir Sahib but, in this
matter, he did not bother himself about their displeasure.
Mr. Bhutto used to feel considerably grieved whenever he talked to me about the
elections to the new Sindh Assembly and the formation of the first ministry in
the days of Sir Shahnawaz. He was of the opinion that there had been a
conspiracy to keep his father out of power in the province. And just as Sir
Shahnawaz could never forget his defeat in the elections of 1937, his son too
continued to nurse this grievance in his heart for long years. His indignation was
assuaged only when he himself inflicted a crushing defeat on Ayub Khuhro, his
biggest rival and must powerful politician of Larkana in the election battle of
December 1970. Mr. Bhutto had won by 40,000 votes.
Mr. Bhutto had also described to me how, in order to defeat Sir Shahnawaz
Bhutto in the provincial elections of 1937, the Hindu moneylenders and the
Indian National Congress Party had used money like water. Eye witnesses also
testified to this fact and corroborated the view that nowhere in election history
had so much money been spent on one seat. There is also the story that when Sir
Shahnawaz heard that his opponent was Sheikh Abdul Majid Sindhi, his self-
confidence had assumed uncalled for proportions and he had exclaimed, “A
jackal wants to walk into the lion’s den”. Because of this misplaced optimism he
remained out of Larkana for most of the electioneering period. When he came
home the game was all but over and it was too late to retrieve the loss.
Despite his personal defeat, Sir Shahnawaz Bhutto’s party—the United Party—
managed to secure a good number of seats in the provincial assembly. It elected
him as its parliamentary leader and many of his colleagues offered to resign so
that he could contest the election again and become a member, but he was so
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disillusioned that he declined. Prominent Sindhis like G.M. Syed, Pirzada Abdus
Sattar, Pir Ilahi Bakhsh, Allah Bakhsh Soomro, Hashim Gazdar and Syed Miran
Mohammad Shah who were in his party, had expressed complete confidence in
his leadership, but he decided to abdicate in favour of Sir Ghulam Husain
Hidayatullah and leave the field. At that time Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was only nine
years old. Long afterwards he told me on a number of occasions, as he did his
other friends and companions, about the farewell message that his father sent to
his supporters (as well his political opponents like Ghulam Husain Hidayatullah,
Ayub Khuhro and Qazi Fazlullah) and his province:
I bid farewell to the people of Sindh with a heavy heart. I did whatever
was in my power for my friends, my people, and in the process I myself
became the loser. I am saying goodbye to the province because of my
political self-respect and intense rivalry. I assure my friends that they will
continue to be very dear to me; and ask my opponents to believe me that I
bear them no enmity.
Mr. Bhutto recounted many times the reaction of Sir Shahnawaz to his defeat in
the election and its aftermath. He said, “Since my father was adviser to the Sindh
Governor we lived, at the time of the election campaign, in the official residence
meant for the Chief Minister. The house was always full of guests, with people
coming and going all the time. I remember when I got home that day everything
was lying in a forlorn state. When I asked my servant what had happened, he
replied, “Sir Sahib has been defeated in the election”.
I distinctly recall my meeting with Mr. Bhutto in England in which he had
dilated with great regret on the mutual bickering of Sindhi politicians. He had
exclaimed that he would never forget his father’s defeat because it had resulted
in dishonour for the family. He had announced in very firm tones that he would
not rest till he had restored the lost honour. This he did in 1970.
After relinquishing the politics of Sindh Sir Shahnawaz left the province and
went to live in Bombay. There he was appointed Chairman of the Bombay-Sindh
Joint Public Service Commission. Then, in the beginning of 1947 he was offered a
berth in the cabinet of Junagadh State which he accepted. Impressed by his talent
and his statesmanship, the Nawab of Junagadh appointed him Diwan (prime
minister) of the state. At the time of partition, it was following Sir Shahnawaz’s
advice that the Nawab decided to accede to Pakistan. When, because of
disturbances fomented in the state from across the border the Nawab had to flee
Junagadh, the Muslims of the state had to suffer terribly at the hands of
insurgents. It was with great diplomatic skill that Sir Shahnawaz ensured his
own safety and that of the Muslims when the state was finally over-run by
Indian sponsored rebels.
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After the debacle in Junagadh, Sir Shahnawaz had come back to Sindh.
According to Mr. Bhutto he spent the next ten years at home, remaining aloof
from politics but entertaining great hopes for his son in whom he saw the
possible flowering of his own ambitions and desires. His doors were open for
political leaders of all hues and views, and his galaxy of guests included the
Quaid-i-Azam, Husain Shaheed Suhrawardy, Iskander Mirza, Ayub Khan,
Pirzada Abdus Sattar, Pir Ilahi Bakhsh and many other persons of prominence.
In the meantime since his son Zulfikar Ali had returned after completing his
education in the United States and Britain he took his political grooming in hand.
Sir Shahnawaz’s constant advice was that, availing himself of the opportunity,
Zulfikar should cultivate the powerful in the country and align himself with
them. Two of his sons had died in youth and now Zulfikar Ali was the focus of
all his attention and affection and the cynosure of his political hopes and
aspirations. It did not take Mr. Bhutto long to impress political leaders with his
outstanding talents, and Iskandar Mirza, then President of Pakistan, was
particularly struck by him. In October 1957 the President chose Mr. Bhutto to
represent Pakistan on a committee of the United Nations dealing with aggression
in world affairs. The very next month Sir Shahnawaz Bhutto was called away by
19. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto; A Memoir, Copyright © www.bhutto.org 19
MY EARLY DAYS
When Zulfikar and I were in England to become barristers-at-law, it never
occurred to me that one day Mr. Bhutto would be my leader, and that after his
martyrdom I would have to jog my memory in order to recall my association
with him. As I have mentioned earlier Mr. Bhutto couldn’t get over the fact that
in 1911-12 his uncle Ali Gohar Bhutto and my uncle Jan Mohammad Junejo were
studying law in London and then, 40 years later he and I were doing the same
together. Before I say anything about our mutual recollections of England it is
appropriate that I should recount some details of my own early life, my
education and the environment in which I was brought up.
I have already mentioned the fact that our two families was never close to each
other, and that I met Mr. Bhutto quite late in life. I was born at Dhamra in
December 1928. My uncle had departed this world seven years earlier after
passing a most eventful file. According to our family tradition I acquired my
early education in the village. Since my uncle had set the precedent for
knowledge and education in the family, no one opposed my desire to study as
much as I wanted to. My father had been a big landlord, member of the district
local body and honorary magistrate, so there was no hindrance to my pursuit of
studies. After covering the primary classes I was shifted to Karachi where we
had a flat in the Garden Area. The Karachi of those days is still alive in my
mind’s eye, and the thought is most painful that the calm, peaceful and civilised
city should have been so transformed. It is as if the evil eye has made the city its
I was in school when Karachi was the hub of all manner of lively activities;
political, social and cultural. I was a witness to both the provincial elections of
Sindh. The newspapers were replete with election reports. Before this, because of
the war, Karachi used to be full of Americans. Then the war ended and the
mutiny in the Indian Navy caught the attention of the public. I was too young to
understand the ideas and ideals behind the various movements. I must say
newspaper-reading had not become as common as it is now. Even so the events
of those days still echo in my thoughts since they were reported extensively by
the press. Before I had come to live in Karachi, Syed Sibghatullah Shah, the Pir of
20. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto; A Memoir, Copyright © www.bhutto.org 20
Pagara, had been sentenced to death by hanging and both his sons had been
despatched to London so that they should remain under the tutelage of the
British. Martial law had ended and the Hur rebellion had petered out, though
thousands of Hurs were still in the jails.
In the first election of 1946 the Muslim League had carried the day, and G.M.
Syed & Company had managed to secure only four seats. In the process of
forming the government the Ayub Khuhro faction had to retreat and Ghulam
Husain Hidayatullah became Chief Minister. However, after a few months, the
Governor abrogated the Provincial Assembly and new elections were held in
December. This time too most of the old faces came back, though the position of
the Muslim League was somewhat improved. However I could drum up no
interest in these successive elections because both the Bhutto family and my
people remained aloof from them. Sir Shahnawaz was still in Bombay, whereas
my father and members of the family had no interest in politics. Our concern
with it was to the extent of the Khuhro’s participation in politics and elections,
but their centre of activity was not in Karachi but in Larkana.
I faintly recall that because of the naval mutiny education too had been disturbed
to some extent because the national spirit tended to arouse itself in schools and
colleges. I had heard at that time that 1500 men of the navy had risen in revolt. It
was also said that the “rebels” were contacted in the beginning by Mohammad
Hashim Gazdar, Chairman of the Provincial Muslim League, who had been
deputed for the purpose. After his meeting with the mutineers he issued a
statement which ran contrary to the official policy of the Muslim League, for it
said that “the unrest in the navy was due to the unjust attitude of the authorities
towards Indians, towards officers and men and towards the citizens which had
provoked ordinary sailors into rising for the freedom of the country”.
Unnerved by the display of solidarity through public demonstrations in various
parts of Karachi, Ghulam Husain Hidayatullah’s government sought aid from
the British Military Police whose detachments opened fire on the sailors of the
naval ships RINS Hindustan, Himalaya and Charnak. There were deaths and many
people were wounded. Later the British sent in reinforcements. The leadership of
the Muslim League and the Congress took the plea that the solution of the
problems of naval ratings lay in peaceful negotiations and therefore refrained
from assisting the mutineers in their struggle. This attitude obliged them to lose
heart. The naval strike ended but the consequent repression went on and
hundreds of concerned persons were put behind bars.
In June 1946 Sindh was enveloped in another round of strikes which were
organised mainly through the active agency of communists. These strikes were
by workers and labour. Instead of dealing with their problems and demands in a
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sensible manner the government again took recourse to help from the Military
Police. The streets of Karachi were littered with bodies and the blood of the dead
and the wounded. The government relented in the matter of wages to the
minimum extent only. For instance, in the beginning of July when labour at the
Karachi docks struck work, it conceded a raise of just five annas per day in their
wages after a whole week of docks lying idle. On 26-27 July employees of the
Post Office also went on strike because the government had failed to live up to its
promise of increase in salaries. If the local trade unions had not been weak and
ineffective, labour could have certainly extracted better deals from the
The rebellion of the Hurs had been crushed and some 2,500 Hurs were rotting in
jails. In this political background I was completing my studies for matriculation.
And yet, despite so much political agitation and strikes, life in Karachi remained
peaceful, and educational institutions were rarely affected by the disturbances. I
remember we often went out for a walk in Saddar to enjoy ourselves.
I passed the matriculation examination in 1947. Long before I was shifted to
Karachi, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had left for Bombay to be with his father.
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FIRST MEETING WITH Z. A. BHUTTO
After the establishment of Pakistan, Karachi went through cataclysmic changes.
The arrival of refugees in large numbers turned its geography topsy-turvy, and
half the city seemed to be made up of makeshift hutments and shanty towns. The
tramcars on Bunder Road, which had a rhythm of their own, now appeared to be
tottering under the weight of excess passengers. This side of the Exhibition
where we now have the Quaid-i-Azam’s mausoleum, there was a sea of
improvised huts, and the populated section of the city sprawled from Guru
Mandir outwards, spanning open areas and reaching Lalukhet and Nazimabad.
Karachi was previously a purely Sindhi city, now it began to lose the charm of its
personality. At that time I was in college in the intermediate class, and all of us,
without exception, felt the deepest sympathy for the refugees and welcomed
them with open arms. Everyone extolled their countless sacrifices. Many new
tongues, never heard before, came to be spoken.
During this period Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had left Bombay and gone to the United
States for higher education. After completing my intermediate level I stayed on
in Karachi. Since the plan was for me to go abroad for subsequent studies I did
not return to the village.
In 1948 riots started in Karachi and the rest of the province to protest against the
detachment of Karachi from Sindh in order to make it the federal capital.
Mohammad Ayub Khuhro who had been Chief Minister of Sindh ever since the
birth of Pakistan, was not in favour of separating Karachi from Sindh, so he was
obliged to give up the post, and some charges of financial irregularities were
brought against him. Sir Shahnawaz Bhutto was looking keenly at the
chessboard of politics, sometimes from Bombay and sometimes from Larkana,
but was averse to taking part in the game. His sights were set on his son with
great hopes and expectations. The years 1950 and 1951 passed in intrigues and
differing political combinations. Incidentally Khuhro kept on joining one
government and leaving another from time to time.
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The fifth of January 1928 can be labelled as a bright huminous day in Larkana’s
history. Mr. Bhutto’s birth was marked by tremendous rejoicing. According to
what he himself narrated, and keeping with family and historical traditions, the
day was like the great Eid festival for Larkana. For a whole week huge cauldrons
of food were cooked, the poor were showered with charity and sweets were
distributed. As a continuation of tradition, the infant’s aqeeqa ceremony was
celebrated with equal fanfare and festivity, and so many goats and sheep were
slaughtered that the entire population of Larkana must have turned out for the
feast. Not only from Naudero, Garhi Khuda Bakhsh and Mirpur Kot but also
from distant places like Khairpur, Jacobabad, Sukkur and Hyderabad hundreds
of peasants, small land owners and even haris joined the feast just as the high
and mighty from Larkana and other places came for it. There was no distinction
made between the rich and the poor. All the guests, whether they were
distinguished personalities or ordinary peasants and farm labourers, sat at the
same place to eat, and when the christening of the boy took place, received the
ceremonial sweetmeats in the same fashion.
The naming of little Zulfikar Ali was presided over by the iman of Larkana’s
Jamia Masjid. He recited the Quran while the guests read from the holy book,
after which Sir Shahnawaz Bhutto announced that the new-born had been given
the name of Zulfikar Ali. He said that in choosing this name his heartfelt wish
was that like Ali, the Lion of God, the child when he grew up, should disperse
the darkness of evil just as Hazrat Ali had done with his sword Zulfikar.
Shahnawaz Bhutto paid the utmost attention to Zulfikar Ali’s studies. Khan
Bahadur Mohammad Ayub Khuhro used to recall from old times that
“Whenever Shahnawaz Sahib visited the village he would keep his younger son
by his side and take pride in the distinctions he earned at school. Because he
himself was not highly educated, Shahnawaz Sahib derived great happiness
from Zulfikar’s educational progress. That is why he sent his son to Berkeley
University in California and to England’s most famous Oxford University where
only the very privileged young men could go.” It seemed that the successes of
Bhutto Shaheed were making up for the disappointments the old father had
suffered because of his two elder sons, Sikandar and Imdad, both of whom had
died when he was young.
It is said that when he was four years old, it was at the hands of the very same
iman of Larkana’s Jamia Masjid, that Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was initiated into
religious instruction, initially through the Arabic primer. The maulvi sahib was
his first formal teacher. Otherwise his very first teacher was his own mother, for
even as he cntcrcd his fourth year she had made him learn by heart the Sura-i-
Fateha, the Ayat-ul-Kursi, the three last suras of the Quran and many Islamic
prayers. Often as she stood on the prayer-mat for her devotions, Zulfikar Ali
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would station himself by her side, put his hands on his chest and start moving
Two years after Zulfikar Ali was born his father was knighted by the British
Government and he became Sir Shahnawaz Bhutto. Soon afterwards he went to
London to attend the Round Table Conference at the head of Sindh’s delegation.
And Zulfikar was still in his fifth year when Sir Shahnawaz was taken as
minister in the provincial Bombay cabinet.
Since Sir Shahnawaz had to keep moving from place to place, the continuity of
Zulfikar Ali’s studies could not be maintained. For some time he was in the
Convent School in Karachi and was then enrolled in Bishop High School. When
Sir Shahnawaz decided to shift to Bombay after his defeat in the 1937 election,
Mr. Bhutto too went with him and joined the Cathedral High School there. It was
from this school that he passed his Senior Cambridge.
The Cathedral School was the favourite institution for children of the nobility,
and there were only a few students from Muslim families. The others were
mostly British, Hindu, Parsi and Anglo Indians. At this age Mr. Bhutto’s
childhood companions and friends were boys from a variety of social and
religious origins that inhabited the Bombay of that time. For example there was
Kiran Singh, son of the last Maharajah of Kashmir, who was later a minister in
India in the Congress government; there was Asif Currimbhoy belonging to one
of the best known Khoja families, as also Jehangir Moosa Jeth. Pilu Mody, who
later wrote a biography of his friend by the name of “Zulfi, My Friend”, was a
class-mate, as was the famous sports reporter, Omar Kureshi.
During this period Mr. Bhutto took to cricket with great enthusiasm, and the
cricket super star of the time, Mushtaq Ali, became a good friend. At the same
time he developed a feeling of hero-worship for the Quaid-i-Azam. For instance,
he told many people of how he had made a proposal to the Quaid which the
great leader had accepted. On 16 August 1946 when Mr. Jinnah was addressing a
meeting in Bombay, young Zulfikar Ali went up to him and suggested that they
should hold a demonstration before Elphinstone College where a majority of
students were Hindu. According to what Mr. Bhutto related to one friend, “I had
proposed to the Quaid that we should try to infiltrate into the educational
institutions of Hindus, one of which was Elphinstone College. I said we shall arm
Muslim boys with placards about Pakistan and place them at the entrance of the
college in order to picket them. Mr. Jinnah advised me to take charge of this
programme. Since I knew some boys of Elphinstone College we succeeded in
organizing such a demonstration. It had its effect because the students of the
college were also influenced and the newspapers published full reports of our
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Prior to this, in 1945 when he was still a schoolboy, Zulfikar Ali had written a
letter to the Quaid-i-Azam. Its last few lines said,
“I am only a student and cannot do much. But the time will soon come when I
shall be prepared to lay down my life for Pakistan”.
When Mr. Bhutto was about to take the Senior Cambridge examination, he was
told that his younger sister Benazir, who was in a school in Poona, had died at
the age of ten. At the time of her death, Sir Shahnawaz was somewhere in Sindh.
Zulfikar went to Poona with his mother and performed the last rites of the little
girl. The tragedy left him in a state of emotional shock and even affected his
performance in the examination. He was never able to forget his dear sister, and
when, in 1953, he was blessed with a daughter, his first-born, he named her
Benazir. Benazir was from his second wife Nusrat.
Mr. Bhutto’s first wife was Shirin Amir Begum, a first cousin. Mr. Bhutto was
only 13 years old when he was married off to Shirin Amir Begum who was ten
years older than him. Benazir has recorded an interesting account of this
marriage in her book. She says:
Ghulam Murtaza Bhutto’s son, my grandfather Sir Shahnawaz, was the
first to start breaking the Bhuttos away from the feudal ethos that was
stifling a whole segment of society. Until this time the Bhuttos had only
married other Bhuttos, first cousins or possibly second. Islam entitled
women to inherit property and the only way to keep the land within the
family was through marriage. Such a “business” marriage had been
arranged between my father and his cousin Amir when he was only
twelve and she eight or nine years older. He had resisted until my
grandfather tempted him with a cricket set from England. After their
marriage, Amir had returned to live with her family and my father had
returned to school, leaving him with a lasting impression of the inequity,
especially as far as women were concerned, of forced family marriages.
At least Amir had got married. When there was no suitable cousin in the
family, the Bhutto women did not marry at all. For this reason my aunts,
my grandfather’s daughters from his first marriage, had remained single
all their lives. Despite great opposition from the family, my grandfather
had allowed his daughters from his second marriage to marry outside the
Bhutto circle, though they were not love matches, but strictly arranged
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After completing his education in Bombay, Mr. Bhutto proceeded to the United
States in 1947. The same year I had done my matriculation in Karachi. In early
1948, Mr. Bhutto secured admission in the University of California in Los
Angeles. After spending a year there he transferred himself to Berkeley and took
admission in the Political Science Department. In the course of his studies he
contested election to one of the 12 seats in the university students union. It was in
California that he was introduced to socialism, though socialism had made deep
inroads into his psyche even before that. The poverty of the Sindhi people and
the poor financial background of his mother had induced in him a strong desire
to improve the lot of the suffering poor. In this he was inspired also by what his
mother used to tell him about the vagaries of the feudal system and the class
structure in which it believed.
After obtaining an honours degree in political science and international law, Mr.
Bhutto went over to Oxford where he wanted to graduate in law. Condensing a
three-year at Christ Church College into two years, he also managed to become a
barrister at Lincoln’s Inn in London.
During his studies in England Mr. Bhutto came home to Pakistan for the
vacations. It was then that we met for the first time at a dinner party by Jam
Anwer Ali in his honour. I may Mention here that the Bhutto family had the
closest of relations with the Jam family. Jam Sadiq Ali’s father Jam Kaubho and
Jam Anwer Ali’s father Jam Jan Mohammed were brothers and they were all
very intimate with Sir Shahnawaz Bhutto and his family. I do not remember
clearly now whether I was introduced to Mr Bhutto by Jam Anwer Ali or
someone else, but I do recall that he shook hands with me with great warmth.
Let me admit that in that party he dominated the whole scene with his
personality. Maybe I was not very much impressed by him in this formal party in
Karachi’s Beach Luxury Hotel, for it did not leave any lasting impression. The
reason was that in that crowd he was just one of the many guests. Moreover at
that time my mind was not able to discern in this smartly dressed good-looking
young man the future President and Prime Minister of this country and a brave
and enterprising leader of the Third World. We met at some other parties too but
those too were just like routine parties and I could not know him any better. And
when finally I left for London in 1952 to read law I had all but forgotten the
young man who I was to meet in London and who would become so close to me.
I am not able to recall now whether I was invited to Mr. Bhutto’s wedding—his
second marriage—which took place in one of the vacations. But I will record here
what I heard about this marriage from family sources. It seems that Mr. Bhutto’s
mother had also invited members of Nusrat’s family to the wedding of her
daughter. Nusrat attended with her grandmother. When Mr Bhutto saw her
there he immediately requested his mother to seek her hand in marriage for him.
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Lady Khurshid Shahnawaz acceded to her son’s wish and formally went over to
place her desire before Nusrat’s father and grandmother.
The tragedy of Junagadh had left indelible marks on the heart and mind of Sir
Shahnawaz Bhutto. Even after four years he could not erase its effects from his
memory. Especially so since the wedding took place in September 1951, and
September had been the month when the catastrophe at Junagadh had taken
place. The nikah of Zulfikar Ali with Nusrat was solemnized with simplicity, but,
at the same time, in keeping with hallowed family traditions.
It was on 8 September that the wedding took place. For about a week Zulfikar
and Nusrat stayed in Karachi and, as the vacations ended, Mr. Bhutto left for
London on 15 September to complete his studies. He took his bride with him,
and, on the way, they spent some time in Turkey and Rome. Nusrat stayed in
London for six weeks after which she returned home and began to live with her
husband’s family in Larkana. The next year Nusrat again went to London to be
with Zulfikar Ali and again passed six weeks in his company. On coming back
home she again began to live in Larkana. Till Zulfikar’s final return home after
completing her studies she chose to give her affection and service to her parents-
Now my meetings with Mr. Bhutto were about to start in London.
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DAYS IN LONDON
I left for England to pursue studies in law on 18 July 1952. There were a number
of Sindhi young men in London for the same purpose. Along With Zulfikar Ali
Bhutto two of his cousins, Mumtaz Ali Bhutto and Mashooq Ali Bhutto were also
there. The three of them lived together in a flat they had rented in London. When
I was leaving Pakistan t could not even dream of meeting Mr. Bhutto there, nor
did I have an idea that I would come across boys of the Bhutto family or other
Sindhis in England.
I had been there about three months when i suddenly encountered Mr. Bhutto
on a railway station. Azizullah Shaikh and I were returning from somewhere by
train, and as we alighted from it I saw a slim young man who had also got down.
The sight gave me a start, because the face seemed familiar but somehow I could
not recall where we had met. As the three of us stood on the platform he was
attracted towards us and, moving in our direction, he asked where we belonged.
We just said, “Pakistan.” Looking at Azizullah Shaikh he queried, “Where in
Pakistan?” Shaikh told him he came from Sukkur. Then the young man turned to
me and asked the same question. When I replied that I hailed from Larkana, his
eyes lit up and he said with some spirit, “I too am from Larkana.”
I felt that Mr. Bhutto had retained some memory of our introduction in Karachi
and that is why, on getting down from the train, he was trying to remember who
I was. We stood there, talking on the platform, and he asked “Which family of
Sindh do you belong to?”
“I am a Junejo,”
“And I am a Bhutto, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.”
As we talked on and he came to know that I was a nephew of Jan Mohammad
Junejo, he became enthusiastic and exclaimed, “Chakar Junejo, do you know that
29. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto; A Memoir, Copyright © www.bhutto.org 29
your uncle and my uncle had also come here to become barristers—just like you
and I. That was in 1911-12”.
This was news to me that my uncle had been connected in any way with the
Bhutto family. As I have repeatedly stated in the preceding pages, we had
always been close to the Khuhros in Larkana. We talked on and on, and then Mr.
Bhutto informed us of his flat in Earl’s Court and invited me and Azizullah
Shaikh to pay him a visit.
It seethed strange to me that Mr. Bhutto and I should be studying in the same
institution and our first meeting should have taken place just by the way.
Actually he was a year senior to me that is why we never came across one
another in the law classes. As we parted on the station platform, Mr. Bhutto
again repeated his invitation that we should come to his place.
Because we were in a strange country, or maybe it was Mr. Bhutto’s sincere
Manner, that we decided to visit him. The Bhutto I had met in Karachi had not
meant much to me but the Bhutto I met in London was about to become my most
favourite and beloved personality. One evening Azizullah Sheikh and I Went
over to the address given us by Mr. Bhutto.
He welcomed us most warm-heartedly. He was alone in the flat but we learned
that his two cousins, Mumtaz Ali Bhutto and Mashooq Ali Bhutto also lived with
him. It was a small flat, but very tidy and well kept and exuded an atmosphere of
neatness and good taste. Mr. Bhutto seated us in the drawing room and went
into the kitchen, from where he soon emerged with cups of tea and biscuits.
We stayed with Mr. Bhutto for over an hour. While matters pertaining to our
stay in London and our law studies occupied most of our time, we also discussed
the political situation in Pakistan. He had come from the United States about a
year ago and was fully conversant with the idiosyncrasies of the American way
of life. In his writings published during his stay in the States the uppermost
topics in his mind were the great Islamic heritage, a universal concept of the
world and the superior status of man in God’s creation. The skyscrapers of
America had left him cold, and as he had said good bye to New York his pen had
expressed such questions as “Who was more fortunate: the cave man or his
progeny who lives in these magnificent buildings?” He voiced the same kind of
sentiments before us. Looking back now, I am simply amazed that the very
system and administration of the United States which he disliked so much
should have been the cause of his death just because he was opposed to it.
The conversation soon turned from America and the problems of our studies to
Pakistan and the politics of Sindh. He had recently been to Pakistan and he
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seemed to be of the opinion that the mutual bickering of Sindhi politicians for
power were not in the interest of Sindh’s people. According to his analysis it was
the internecine quarrels of Sindhis that had afforded an opportunity to the
refugees to come into the limelight, and if things went on like this Sindh would
have to face a great crisis. His fears were realised within two years when the old
identity of Sindh was obliterated and it was merged in the new bigger province
of West Pakistan. Today of course it is the worst possible scenario with Karachi,
the capital of Sindh being bathed in blood.
Let me record my considered opinion here that personally Mr. Bhutto was not
much interested in the regional politics of Sindh. His was a wider canvas and the
focus of his real interest was the national politics of Pakistan.
During our chat, Mr. Bhutto once again mentioned how his uncle and mine had
studied for the bar at the same time and where they had lived in London.
Apparently he had fully informed himself about it beforehand. When we rose to
take our leave, Mr. Bhutto said smilingly, “Chakar, I am sure this is not our first
and last meeting. Do come over whenever you can.
Mr. Bhutto hadn’t taken long to start calling me by my first name. One day he
rang up, “Chakar, what are you doing?” “Nothing.”
“Then come over.”
I remember that in this our second meeting too he waxed eloquent on the ups
and downs of Pakistan’s politics. He was particularly critical of the prodigal
ways of Sindhi waderas and how they wasted money on shikar and such other
pursuits. His complaint was that they didn’t educate their children properly and
kept their women in deplorable conditions. It was a great surprise to see the son
of a big landlord of Sindh blasting the jagirdars and waderas of his province.
That evening I came away early for he had to go to dinner with Mir Bande Ali
We also had a grand party at my residence. I had invited Mr. Bhutto, as also
Mumtaz Ali, Ashiq Ali, Mashooq Ali, Ghulam Safdar Shah (who was to become
a famous judge later on), Gulzar A. Khan and Qadir Ali who came from Ghotki.
Azizullah Sheikh of course had to be there. We were about a dozen people.
Everybody conversed at their ease, but this time too Mr. Bhutto bitterly criticized
Pakistani politics and the increasing dependence of our country on the United
States. Actually with all of us who belonged to Sindh, politics was our usual fare
for discussion. That evening Mr. Bhutto said some startling things and created a
sensation among us by saying that the way democracy was on the decline in
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Pakistan he couldn’t rule out the imposition of martial law. It is really a strange
coincidence that the martial law which he had predicted became the cause of his
becoming a federal minister a few years later. Safdar Shah also expressed his
opinions now and then but he was really paying the closest attention to whatever
Mr. Bhutto said. Suddenly Safdar Shah leaned over and said to me, “Chakar,
take it from me. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto is destined to go far. I perceive great
leadership qualities in him.”
What a correct appreciation was made by Safdar Shah.
We also used to be together at the usual Lincoln’s Inn dinners. There used to be
three sessions in a year for study at the bar. In every session a student had to
attend six dinners. Thus it was compulsory to participate in 18 dinners in a year.
These were occasions in which the head of Lincoln’s Inn, the teachers, some
members of the staff and the students took part. We sat on benches to eat and we
had to contribute a pound each for every dinner. I met Mr. Bhutto at some of
these dinners. He was always smart, very well dressed and invariably with a
beautiful handkerchief in the pocket of his coat. He was also fond of going out to
eat in expensive restaurants.
There is one meeting with Mr. Bhutto which I shall never forget, for this time I
saw an altogether new facet of his personality. I had always found him a serious
person involved in earnest discussion of political problems, but in this encounter
which took place at the residence of a former Sindh minister, Mir Bande Ali
Talpur, he was a jolly young man engaged in humorous banter and jokes. I don’t
remember now whether I was already there when Mr. Bhutto turned up or he
was there when I entered, but it was a most pleasurable meeting. Mr. Bhutto
would tease Mir Bande Ali again and again, “Mir Sahib you always come to
London to have a good time,” while poor Mir Sahib would go on protesting “No!
No!” Mr. Bhutto also narrated a frightening dream he had seen in which he
found matter to rag Mir Sahib who had to say, “Go on yaar, you and your
dream!” We had a right happy time together with Mr. Bhutto finding ever new
topics to amuse Mir Bande Ali.
Another short meeting that I recall was about the British people and how he
made fun of them. He often used to laugh about Englishman who occupied
important posts in united India but when they retired and came back home they
had to be content with insignificant jobs in shops or small establishments. “In
one of the department stores I met a man here working as salesman,” he said.
“Do you know what he was in India? He was Superintendent of Police in
Larkana or Sukkur.”
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On another occasion I vividly recall how Mr. Bhutto expatiated on international
politics, and especially on the friendship between India and China. I have
already stated that he was not very happy about Pakistan’s increasing tilt
towards the United States. In this meeting he expressed the view that if Pakistan
was really honest about a social revolution then it would have to develop deeper
relations with China. If India and China can have pacts and agreements (he said)
and their people can shout the slogan “Hindi-Chini bhai bhai,” what was there to
prevent Pakistan from having a warm friendship with China, specially when
there were no problems between the two countries?
As we know, as time passed, Mr. Bhutto became a great champion and advocate
of Pak-China friendship and it was because of his efforts that on the issue of
Kashmir we secured in China a sincere votary of our cause and a trusted ally.
I was still in the depth of my studies when Mr. Bhutto passed his Honours in
Law in 1952 and was enrolled as a barrister from Lincoln’s Inn. In these two
years he had impressed his teachers with his hard work, intelligence and extra-
ordinary capability. So much so that when the International Law University of
Southampton contacted the Oxford University to fill up the post of a lecturer, the
latter’s administration recommended his name without hesitation. Soon after
when we met again, Mr. Bhutto told me he was going to join Southampton
University which had finally selected him as lecturer.
“This is a great opportunity”, he told me. A few days later I heard that he had
left for Southampton. Then I got a brief letter from him saying that he was sorry
he couldn’t see before leaving, but he had had to go off in a hurry and would
contact me when he came to London.
But he couldn’t come to London for some time. Soon afterwards he received
disturbing news of his father’s illness and he decided to go back home, while I
had to stay on in London for a few more years. He left for Pakistan in the end of
1953. Our next meeting did not take place till 1957.
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BACK HOME 1952-57
I was continuing my studies in England when Mumtaz All Bhutto informed me
that Mr. Bhutto had left Southampton and gone home to Pakistan. We had last
met in 1952. After that for many years there was no contact between us. And
then all of a sudden in 1957 I got a letter from hire that he was going to Geneva
and would make a halt in London on the way, and that I should keep in touch
with Mumtaz and Mashooq. He was being sent by President Iskander Mirza as
Pakistan’s representative to a United Nations conference on the subject of
Since there had been no contact with Mr. Bhutto for so many years, I was not
acquainted with his activities in Pakistan. However, I occasionally heard from
Mashooq or Mumtaz about his welfare and about his success as a lawyer in
Karachi. Actually he briefed me about these years when we met later. For
instance, that he had opposed the formation of One Unit which came into being
in October 1955; that he began to teach in Sindh Muslim Law College in 1956;
that he wrote many articles on the constitutional problems of Pakistan in a
journal called Vision; and how he had made a name for himself as a lawyer.
I also learned that when Mr. Bhutto had got home he had found his father in a
very bad state of health. Because of his illness the management of his lands in
Larkana and Jacobabad districts was being adversely affected. He got engrossed
wholeheartedly in looking after his father who showed signs of improvement
after some time. After setting his land affairs in order Sir Shahnawaz quit
Larkana and moved to Karachi. He had left Southampton with the firm intention
of coming back to the university when circumstances were favourable, but then
he felt that it would be better to remain in his homeland and do whatever he
could for his family and his country.
In Karachi he had started practice as junior to a prominent lawyer by the name of
Ramchandani. It is said by many that soon the famous civil and criminal lawyer
started feeling a little envious of Mr. Bhutto’s legal acumen and his devotion to
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the profession and began to fear that his junior might one day dislodge him from
his position of eminence. Naturally he could not voice his inner thoughts so he
worked on Mr. Bhutto in another way, “Why should you, the son of a big
landlord, involve yourself in law? What you should do is to import advanced
agricultural machinery and become a modern farmer. Your lands will start
Mr. Bhutto was too intelligent not to catch the real import of Ramchandani’s
“advice”, and it didn’t take him long to understand that he wanted him (Mr.
Bhutto) to give up law as a profession. So he took a place almost next door to
Ramchandani’s office and put up his name-plate there. (It is said that the name-
plate is still there.) As an independent lawyer he soon made a name for himself
and there are many stories current about his ability and success, news of which
spread to the interior of Sindh. Announcing judgement in a case the Chief Justice
of the Sindh Chief Court made the observation that, he was confident about Mr.
Bhutto, becoming one of the leading and most successful lawyers, of the country
The story goes that no appeal filed by Mr. Bhutto in a High Court against the
sentence of death was ever rejected. He succeeded in having all of them accepted.
It is also reported that when he was appearing for Sultan Ahmad Chandio before
the Full Bench, Chief Justice Constantine said to him, “Mr. Bhutto, why don’t
you practice regularly? You will be a still greater success.” To which Mr. Bhutto
is reported to have replied, “My; lord, my first love is politics, not the profession
Many, of his friends and admirers say that despite earning so much repute his
office was often found locked, He was either, busy, in resolving political issues at
home or gone abroad or he was, out in Jacobabad and, Larkana looking after the
family lands. At that time he had found another preoccupation,. He had the old
family mansion in Larkana demolished and began to reconstruct, it. Many
eminent personalities had been coming to the old house over long years,
including the Quaid-i-Azam and Mr. Motilal, Nehru and the family was keen to,
retain its existing shape and form, but Mr. Bhutto was determined to go ahead
with his plans and that is how the present Al-Murtaza came into being.
Earlier Mr. Bhutto had barely escaped arrest for his .bitter opposition to One Unit.
Those days parliamentary democracy in Pakistan was passing, through a bad
crisis. Events had rarely seen a happy turn the language controversy of 1952 in
East Pakistan the anti-Qadiani agitation of 1953 and the subsequent martial law
in Lahore, the dismissal at the hands of Governor General Ghulam Mohammed
of Prime Minister Khwaja Nazimuddin Who held a majority in the Constituent
Assembly the winding up of the same Constituent Assembly by the very same
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Governor General on 24 October 1954; preparations for the merger of the
provinces into One Unit by ending their individual identities—all these
happenings would not let Mr. Bhutto watch their unfolding as a silent witness.
Many of his friends say that his reaction to the One Unit idea was too strong, too
violent. When the first announcement of the plan was made only a few days after
the end of the Constituent Assembly, he issued a statement against it on 24
November from Larkana which is a testimony to truth even today. He had said:
Those who are out to write the last chapter of the history of Sindh in this
insensitive and cruel manner are mistaken if they believe that this ancient land of
Moenjodaro came into existence when Britain cut up the subcontinent into small
provinces for purposes of administration. Do they think that the Battle of Miani
(1843 A.D.) did not take place and is merely an illusion? It is most regrettable
that baseless allegations are being made against us because we want to protect
and defend what is dear to us. If our struggle had been a question of vested
interests, then a jagirdar (Mohammad Ayub Khuhro) would not have been made
chief minister in’ order to put the noose of One Unit around our necks. Sindh has
played a courageous role in bringing this country into existence. Naturally it had
expected that it would be an equal partner with the other provinces in any scheme
of things. Sindh stands for and will continue to stand for the equitable
distribution of political power among the provinces instead of dividing the
country into two units.
Mr. Bhutto did not remain content with issuing this statement; for practical
opposition to the merger he also set up a “Sindh Unit Front”, and was prepared
to be its chairman on the insistence of his companions. He went about making
speeches against One Unit all over the province and also published a violently
worded pamphlet from the Sindh Unit Front.
All these activities were intolerable for chief minister Ayub Khuhro who was
prepared to issue orders for Mr. Bhutto’s arrest. However some of his colleagues
were not in favour of this drastic step, and the idea was given up in view of the
opposition it would generate against the government in the Bhutto clan.
Along with this Mr. Bhutto began to write in Vision about the constitutional
issues confronting Pakistan. During the period between 1954 and 1956 all the
articles that he wrote for the journal laid stress on one common point: that a
constitutional set-up and the supremacy of law are most important for
democracy, and any deviation from them can only lead to disunity and chaos.
It was in May 1954 that his first article on constitutional traditions was published
in Vision. The next month he took up the subject “Pakistan—a federation or a
unitary state?” In this he came out as a bitter critic of the One Unit scheme. In
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November 1954 he gave out a statement to the press in which he warned against
the dangers that Sindh would face in One Unit. “Requirements of a Constitution”
and “Development of Democracy” were published in the issues of the periodical
in May 1955 and December 1956 respectively.
This was that tempestuous period (which should have been a lesson to all) when
Pakistan had a constitution-making body but no constitution. Mr. Bhutto was
looking with consternation at the fact that everyone was engaged in nothing but
a fight for power and offices. It was the period when black laws were enacted for
the suppression of rightful dissent and civic and fundamental human rights were
withdrawn from the people. Mr. Bhutto’s articles remind one of the unholy and
oppressive government of those days.
In all these writings Mr. Bhutto comes forward as the advocate of a good
administration based on a respected constitutions. He contributed to the general
opinion that without these imperatives democracy cannot exist, and if in the first
few years of Pakistan’s coming into bring a constitution had been framed and the
supremacy of law had been established, we would have witnessed a different
Mr. Bhutto’s article on the constitution is a document of permanent interest, for it
contained practical and well-researched suggestions, and some parts of it can
truly be described as prophetic in content. He begins with counting the terrible
dangers arising out of our leaders’ inability to draw up a constitution based on
consensus. He said the country was waiting for a messiah, a redeemer, who
would turn this intellectually barren land into a paradise of fertility.
Even as Pakistan came into being, efforts had started to keep it away from the
Soviet Union and the socialist bloc and to make it a handmaiden of the United
States. In September 1954 Pakistan became a signatory in Manila to a pact to set
up the South East Asia Treaty Organisation (SEATO) sponsored by America.
This and other regional pacts and defence treaties, patently engineered to
counter Soviet influence, took Pakistan gradually but surely to a state of
subservience and to loss of real independence and self respect. In the November
1954 issue of Vision Mr. Bhutto made the Manila Declaration the subject of his
article on such defence treaties and their regional impact and looked in minute
detail at some of its provisions. His conclusion was that before endorsing the
SEATO pact, Pakistan should have carefully analysed all its pros and cons, both
evident and hidden.
In another article published by Vision in October 1954, Mr. Bhutto dilated on the
fine distinction between political and legal disputes in the context of
international law. He made the point that a dispute surfaces when a case or a
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claim is rejected, and it can be resolved either by peaceful means or through war.
In Mr. Bhutto’s words, in the final analysis every person should ask himself
whether political aims should be achieved through peaceful methods or by the
use of brute force. If priority is to given’ to peaceful measures, as it should be,
then the attainment of the desired objective can only be through the civilised and
rational way of recourse to law.
During 1955, I was told by some friends in London that Mr. Bhutto might come
there on his way to represent Pakistan in the United Nations. Since I had no
direct contact with him it was difficult to have the report confirmed. A few days
later, we learned that he was not coming. It was only a long time afterwards that
we came to know the details. It so happened that President Iskander Mirza had
nominated him to be a member of the Pakistan delegation to the UN. So Prime
Minister Chaudhry Mohammad Ali called him for interview. However, on
learning from Mr. Bhutto about his views on One Units and other national and
international issues, Chaudhry Mohammad Ali did not form a favourable
opinion and he was not included in the delegation.
Some time later, impressed by reports of Mr. Bhutto’s brightness, Husain
Shaheed Suhrawardy, who had become Prime Minister, requested Sir
Shahnawaz Bhutto to prevail upon his son to join his Awami League, but Sir
Shahnawaz declined to influence Zulfikar Ali in any way.
It was a few months later that I received Mr. Bhutto’s brief letter in which he had
referred to his forthcoming visit to Geneva and expressed the hope of passing a
few days in London. I began to wait for him with the most eager expectation.
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PAKISTAN’S SPOKESMAN IN THE UN
Despite his retirement from active politics, Sir Shahnawaz Bhutto was still a man
to be reckoned with in the corridors of power. President Iskander Mirza was
among his friends. This relationship went back to the days in Bombay when Sir
Shahnawaz was a minister in the Bombay Government and Iskander Mirza grew
up in his uncle’s house there. The uncle was a well-known engineer and often
went to Sir Shahnawaz in connection with his official duties. Sir Shahnawaz too
liked him and patronised him.
Moreover Iskander Mirza was an avid shikari of partridges and some of the
Bhutto lands in Larkana were a hunter’s paradise in this respect. The result was
that he went there for shikar at least once a year (and more often whenever he
could) and used to be the guest of Sir Shahnawaz. It is there that he used to meet
young Zulfikar All during the years from 1954 to 1958. Iskander Mirza was a
good judge of men and he was impressed by Mr Bhutto’s inherent abilities and
talents. As stated earlier, President Iskander Mirza named him in 1955 to be on a
delegation to represent Pakistan in a UN conference, but Prime Minister
Mohammad Ali dropped his name. In 1957 Iskander Mirza again recommended
him when Mr. Husain Shaheed Suhrawardy was Prime Minister. it is noteworthy
that Mr. Bhutto had turned down the latter’s request to join his Awami League,
but that had not affected their relationship of mutual regard.
I had often heard Mr. Bhutto praising Suhrawardy. He used to say that in
Pakistan there was no other politician of his stature. The relationship had
commenced when Suhrawardy had shifted from Dhaka to Karachi and started
legal practice there. Mr. Bhutto frequently went to see him. The story goes that
during one such visit Mr. Bhutto had met Shaikh Mujibur Rahman who was
Suhrawardy’s deputy in the Awami League and that is where they (Bhutto and
Mujib) began keenly discussing politics.
So when Mr. Bhutto’s name came before Prime Minister Suhrawardy as a
proposed member of a delegation to the UN, he gave his assent at once. In those
days Mr. Bhutto was teaching in the Sindh Muslim Law College, where the
authorities, impressed by his repute, had recently requested him also to deliver
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lectures on constitutional law. Since he had often to go to Larkana to look after
his lands, the college administration allowed him to select his own days and
timings for these lectures.
It was during this period that I got Mr. Bhutto’s letter about his impending visit
to London on his way to Geneva to represent Pakistan at the UN conference on
aggression and that I should keep in touch with Mumtaz and Mashooq Bhutto to
know the exact programme.
It was some time at the end of September or the beginning of October that I got
word of Mr. Bhutto’s arrival in London. I went over to meet him. We hadn’t
come across each other for five years, nor had there been any contact between us
in all these years. But strangely it seemed, to me at least, that we had been
together only yesterday. The other Bhuttos, Mumtaz, Ashiq Ali and Mashooq Ali
were also present.
We sat and conversed for a long time. I found that the constant topic from his
side was politics. After the usual questions of how I was, he went straight into a
discussion of the political situation in Pakistan. Although he didn’t say it in so
many words I found that he seemed to be getting ready to jump into the fray. He
devoted a lot of time to the separation of Karachi from Sindh and to Sindh’s
special status in One Unit. I formed the impression that he wished to launch his
political career in Sindhi politics, but had perhaps been advised to go into
A few days later he departed for Geneva and, for the first time in his life, spoke
in an international forum on 25 October. In his address he stressed the fact that
law is compulsory for everyone and this had been the case from time
immemorial. Therefore the question can be asked: is international law a valid law?
If it can honestly proceed against crime and civil injustice then it is a true law,
because no society can exist without law and without punishment for its
In his extended speech Mr. Bhutto referred to Pakistan’s water dispute with
India and endeavored to arouse the world’s conscience about it. He warned that
if there was Indian interference in regular supply or interruption of the flow of
irrigation water Pakistan would have to face destructive conditions. This would
be blatant aggression of its own type arising out of enmity on the part of India.
He averred that many nations were faced with similar aggression.
Mr. Bhutto made it clear that Pakistan would look upon any act as armed
aggression, an act of war, if in its nature and effect it created conditions which
normally result after invasion of one country by another and leave the lives of its
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people in a shambles, as the stoppage of water was bound to do. Apparently it
was not aggression but in the real meaning of the word it was.
He cited the example .of a country which diverts rivers or hinders their smooth
flow and thus creates conditions in a neighbouring country which cause loss of
life and property and dismemberment of that country’s social and economic
structure. This would be nothing but aggression.
Mr. Bhutto called upon the comity of nations in the UN to dub an aggressor as an,
aggressor and describe the victim as a victim without discriminating among big
and small nations and without fear or favour. His address made a favourable
impression in the world forum, and international observers found much in it to
Mr. Bhutto was in Geneva when he received the shocking news of his father’s
death. This was a great tragedy for him and he left for Pakistan at once. Not
much later I too went back after completing my studies.
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AYUB KHAN’S MINISTER
As I have just said, I was back in Pakistan by the end of 1957. Now Mr. Bhutto
was also in Pakistan but most of his time was spent in Karachi. Whenever he
would come to Larkana, we had to meet. One evening, probably in the early days
of 1958, I went over to his house and found him in high fever. But he made me sit
down and we talked for a while. When I got up to leave he said, “We shall have a
long chat one of these days. I was thinking of having a big get-together of
Soon afterwards when he was again in Larkana I went to see him. That day he
was in good spirits and in a mood to converse, “Well,” said, in an obviously light
vein, “What is going on?”
“What can go on, Sain,” I replied, “You know I have no other preoccupation but
We chatted for a long time. Mr. Bhutto would revert to Larkana at brief intervals.
I sensed that he was thinking in terms of his constituency. He had very good
relations with President Iskander Mirza and Prime Minister Firoz Khan Noon,
while Suhrawardy was anxious to have him in his Awami League. General
elections were due in February 1959 and the current opinion was that
Suhrawardy would win enough seats to become Prime Minister again.
While all this was going up, Iskander Mirza and General Ayub Khan were up to
something else. Meantime Iskander Mirza decided to send Mr. Bhutto once again
to Geneva to represent Pakistan. This time Mr. Bhutto took a little longer to make
up his mind because his father was no longer alive and he had his family affairs
to look after. However when President Mirza and Prime Minister Noon both
pressed him he agreed to go. This time the UN conference was on maritime
boundaries, and Pakistan being on the sea-board was interested, and this time
Mr. Bhutto went as leader of the official delegation and, by his performance,
lived up to expectations. On just one topic, the law of the sea, he presented
Pakistan’s viewpoint in five different speeches from 17 March to 19 April. The
final words of his peroration on 17 March went something like this:
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My delegation regards with dismay the inflexible attitude towards the
problems facing the world. We have come here with an open mind and
are ready to listen and learn. We are sure that the last word has not been
spoken on this subject, for debate on every answer or solution gives rise to
new questions. That is why we are ever ready for reform and change
provided reform and change are really called for. God has not blessed any
one individual or any one nation with complete wisdom. We can all learn
from one another and conserve our resources for the common welfare of
humanity which is indivisible despite artificial barriers and unnecessary
prejudices. The sooner we start working with faith and enthusiasm for this
indivisible human power to bring it greater and ever greater happiness,
the better it will be for the individual who composes the most important
element in this universe.
President Iskander Mirza considered Mr. Bhutto his very own find, a discovery
who he was sure, would attain the heights of fame and repute in the future: He
liked Mr. Bhutto very much and became very close to him. During this period a
couple of hunting trips were also arranged in Larkana. It was becoming apparent
that, so far as Mr. Bhutto’s personal choice was concerned, of all his
preoccupations—teaching law, practice of law, farming and polities—he had
made the choice of politics as his future whole-time vocation. He would spend
considerable time on studying the political atmosphere around him. Naturally
the focus of his political attention was Larkana, but he was not very enthusiastic
about the local bigwigs like Ayub Khuhro, Qazi Fazlullah and Mir Ghulam Ali
Talpur. Regional politics disgusted him, so he did not regard G.M. Syed with
favour too. Obviously he was of the view that the country needed politics of the
Mr. Bhutto lived both in Karachi and Larkana. His senior wife lived permanently
in Naudero and whenever he came to Larkana he would invariably put up ,there,
while Begum Nusrat Bhutto, who had four children: Benazir, Mir Murtaza,
Sanam and Shahnawaz, stayed with him in Karachi.
I was at my village Dhamra when I heard about the imposition of martial law in
the country. President Iskander Mirza had dissolved (or dismissed) the
assemblies and the whole of Pakistan was now subject to martial law. Ayub
Khan had been appointed Martial Law Administrator and exercised most of the
powers of government. The very next day large-scale arrests began. On 24
October 1958 President Iskander Mirza announced his cabinet in which Ayub
Khan was the Prime Minister. Apart from Mr. Bhutto who was given the
portfolio of Commerce, the other ministers were Manzur Qadir (Foreign Affairs),
General Azam Khan (Rehabilitation), F.M. Khan (Communications), General
Burki (Health), Habibur Rahman (Education and Information). General K.M.
43. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto; A Memoir, Copyright © www.bhutto.org 43
Sheikh (Interior), Abul Kasem Khan (Industries), Hafizur Rahman (Food &
Agriculture), Mohammad Shoaib (Finance), and Maulvi Ibrahim Khan (Law).
The cabinet was actually an advisory body. On the evening of 27 October, Ayub
Khan and the cabinet were sworn-in. The same night, with the help of his three
generals, Ayub Khan divested Iskander Mirza of all power and authority and
assumed charge of the post of President. Since this activity had taken place at
dead of night, the two news reports about Ayub Khan becoming Prime Minister
and President were published side by side in the newspapers. The news of Mr.
Bhutto becoming Minister for Commerce also reached me in the village, and I
was really happy.
Very soon I went to Karachi to meet Mr. Bhutto. I congratulated him and express
a wish to hold a reception for him in Larkana. Mr. Bhutto responded with
affection and regard to my invitation, and later he always remembered the grand
reception I had held for him in Larkana’s municipal park with love and
Now the practice and teaching of law became things of the past. The youngest
minister in Pakistan had to work tirelessly and he was prepared to meet any
challenge with a bold front. Although he had been selected by Iskander Mirza,
Ayub Khan too was aware of his capabilities. When Iskander Mirza was deposed,
Mr. Bhutto is said to have submitted his resignation, but Ayub Khan did not
accept it, saying that the country needed a Commerce Minister of his calibre.
But it was not Commerce alone which took up his time and attention, for within
two months he was devoting as much time and attention to putting Foreign
Affairs on new rails. In a cabinet meeting on 22 December 1958 he told Foreign
Minister Manzur Qadir and other ministers that Pakistan’s foreign policy was
conditioned by the country’s readiness to accept American aid which meant that
the choice had been made. “But we should not forget,” he added “that in the
event of a war with India the US is not going to come to our help militarily.
Therefore we should not extend our American connection too much.” On 24
December he spoke in another cabinet meeting and said “We must go on
stressing on the Kashmir issue.” When he put forth the argument that trade with
the socialist countries was imperative for our cotton crop, President Ayub
commented, “We should offer our surplus cotton to the US and explain our
problem to the Americans. If they are unable to lift it only then should we
approach the communist countries.”
Mr. Bhutto continued to take more and more interest in foreign affairs. After
some time when he was made Minister for Fuel, Power & Natural Resources, the
new assignment became a vehicle for veering from the US towards the socialist
bloc. In 1961 he signed an agreement with the Soviet Union for oil exploration.
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Whatever portfolio was allotted to him he used it to bring about progressive
changes in Pakistan’s foreign policy. This process reached its culmination when,
on the death of Mohammed Ali Bogra in 1963, he was made Minister for Foreign
In the early days of shifting the federal capital from Karachi I went to see him in
Rawalpindi. He was extremely busy. He found some time for me in the office but
then asked me to come to his house in the evening. I didn’t went to impose on
him and said, “Sain, I had just come to give my good wishes. That I have done.”
But he insisted that I should call again in the evening. I did his bidding and he
remained with me for a long time. We were having tea when he had to go
somewhere suddenly. After a while I too left. Maybe Mr. Bhutto thought I would
wait for him, because when he visited Larkana after some time he complained,
“Why didn’t you stay with me that day instead of leaving without telling me?”
During his days as minister there used to be a stream of guests, both Pakistani
and foreign, at his house in Larkana. Those whom I specially recall were Ayub
Khan, Tikka Khan, the Shah of Iran, Sultan al-Neihan of Abu Dhabi, and his old
schoolmate Pilu Mody. Ayub Khan used to come to Larkana for shikar. Mr.
Bhutto always invited me for the President’s dinners. I found that Ayub Khan
was very much impressed by him and he too highly respected the President. In
1960 Mr. Bhutto had written a tract entitled “Our President and the Revolution,”
in which he designated the martial law of 1958 as a benevolent revolution and
praised the introduction of democracy at the lower level. He described the
agrarian reforms as one of the biggest achievements of this revolution, although
he had to give up a considerable portion of his own lands as a result of the
reforms. He also attributed the new direction of the foreign policy to the thinking
of President Ayub. He praised the President’s family life and disclosed that, as a
shikari, Ayub Khan was a master of the flying shot.
Despite his day-and-night involvement in official work, Mr. Bhutto always paid
personal attention to the matters connected with his lands. Once when we were
coming back to Larkana from Naudero, where he had gone in connection with
his land business, I asked him how he was able to devote concentrated attention
to the matter when he was so extremely busy in official duties. He laughed and
said, “If you ask me what is the area of my landed property and where every bit
of it is located I can give you the exact information here and now. Similarly if you
ask me how many cows and buffaloes I possess and how many calves they have
got I can tell you that. I can also tell you exactly how many horses I have. I don’t
have to go anywhere to count them or ask any manager.” I was sure that he was
speaking the truth.
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Who would have thought that with his engagement in multifarious national
affairs and possessing so much wealth and property he would have time or the
inclination to think of the woes of the poor? But it is a fact that he had a tender
heart for the down-trodden. Once when he was about to leave Larkana for
Islamabad by rail, I went along to the railway station to bid him goodbye. The
car had hardly left the gate of the house when a man, a woman and a child
advanced weeping and wailing towards us. Mr. Bhutto stopped the car and got
down to ask what the trouble was. The couple tearfully complained that a
vagabond had decamped with their daughter and no one was coming forward to
help them. Mr. Bhutto summoned the Superintendent of Police there and then
and directed him to recover the poor girl within two days and report to him.
Then he took out some money from his pocket, consoled the couple and went his
Strangely, on Mr. Bhutto’s next visit to Larkana he found the couple again
standing at the gate of the house, but this time the young daughter was also with
them. He alighted from the car and asked what had brought them there, whether
it was some fresh trouble. But they said they were waiting simply to thank him
for his goodness. He again gave them money and assured them that even if he
was not in Larkana and they had a problem they would find his doors open for
If anyone wants to find out why Mr. Bhutto was so popular among the masses he
had only to see him among them. It was his sheer love and sympathy and
humane consideration for them and not clever political tricks which made him
the focus of their affection and loyalty, and I believe that is what enabled him to
reach the pinnacle of glory. In Larkana, on Mr. Bhutto’s advice I had set up a
liaison office where anyone could come without let or hindrance to state their
difficulties and seek assistance. Sometimes for particularly complicated cases I
had to go to Islamabad to explain matters to him in person, and he would find
some way to help or ameliorate. Similarly, whenever he was in Larkana he
would always find time to redress the grievances of the people.
Eid days and other festivals would invariably find him in Naudero, and there
would be large crowds of people around him, some to wish him but most of
them coming with their problems. Since I was always there I never once saw him
lose his patience or express boredom at the imposition. There was always a bevy
of important persons too who would come to wish him a happy Eid, and they
came from all corners of Sindh, and sometimes from outside too, but he never
allowed this to deprive a lowly hari or a poor man of the opportunity to greet
him. I think he derived genuine pleasure from doing anything for his less
fortunate co-citizens, and his mode of help too was positive and earnest.
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Of course he extended all courtesy and respect to those who came simply to see
him without any personal problems. Literally hundreds of people would flood
his house in Larkana. He would meet everyone individually, talk to them and
ask them to share a meal with him. The coming and going would continue the
whole day, and none of his visitors could complain of neglect on his part. Along
with this he gave special attention to people from his constituency. One function
of the liaison office set up by me was to help the needy on a priority basis.
Mr. Bhutto was very meticulous in keeping up his political friendships and
connections. Once I was going with him to Naudero when we met the Pir Sahib
of Pagara’s car coming from the opposite direction. When they saw each other
they stopped their cars, got down and talked for a while. That was the first time I
had set eyes on Pir Sahib. I think there was no point of political difference
between them at that time. But the fact remains that when Mr. Bhutto left the
government, Pir Sahib sided with Ayub Khan.
Mr. Bhutto had very good relations with Makhdoom Talibul Maula, the Pir Sahib
of Hala, who would often come to see him. The same goes for Ghulam Mustafa
Jatoi who, at that time, was in Convention Muslim League like Mr Bhutto himself.
They were good friends, but when Mr. Bhutto broke his connection with Ayub
Khan some years later, Jatoi ‘was inclined to avoid him in the beginning.
It would be wrong to say that the sole intention of Mr. Bhutto in keeping up his
vast connections was to gain political advantage. In fact the reverse would be
more correct. For example, whenever he went to England he would make it a
point to call on Iskander Mirza, although he knew this would not please Ayub
Khan. He considered Iskander Mirza as his mentor and patron and he spent
hours in his company. I have heard that once the former President warned him
that Ayub Khan could be dangerous for him if annoyed, but Mr. Bhutto just
smiled and said nothing, and did not stop his visits. This is an aspect of character
that few politicians in Pakistan have possessed or displayed.
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THE KASHMIR DELEGATIONS
Before the war of September 1965, probably some time in mid-year, the Ministry
of Foreign Affairs decided to send out two high level delegations to arouse world
opinion in favour of Pakistan’s case on Kashmir. They were to go in different
directions. One was led by the Mir Waiz of Kashmir and the other was headed
by Khwaja Shahabuddin. Between there they toured nearly thirty countries. In
the second delegation I was also made a member, and Sardar Ibrahim, the
Kashmiri leader, was with us.
The two delegations covered almost all parts of the globe. The countries that I
can recall were Burma, Canada, Egypt, Guinea, Greece, Ghana, Hong Kong,
Indonesia, Kenya, Italy, Japan, Mali, Malaysia, Lebanon, the Philippines, Senegal,
Somalia, Sudan, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Turkey.
This was Mr. Bhutto’s idea, and he was Foreign Minister at that time. He had
literally unearthed the Kashmir dispute from the deep freezer and given it new
life. He entertained a strong belief that the issue of self-determination for the
people of Kashmir was a matter of life and death for Pakistan. It was therefore
necessary that this reality should be faced by keeping the issue alive before the
Wherever we went we called not only on the heads of state and government but
also contacted people prominent in the public life of those countries, and made
them acquainted with the significant aspects of the Kashmir dispute. In every
capital we would find that Mr. Bhutto’s voice had reached there before us, and so
we were listened to with even greater attention. Many countries decided to treat
us as state guests and we were given the due protocol. This was all because of Mr.
Bhutto’s influence and his style of work a Foreign Minister.
I think the biggest achievement of our delegation was a meeting with President
Gamal Abdul Nasser of Egypt. Nasser was annoyed with Pakistan for its lack of
support on the issue of Israeli aggression against Egypt and would always
decline to meet delegations from Pakistan, but he agreed to see us. This was
something great because we had been forewarned and were prepared for a very
cold reception in Egypt. The first thing that President Nasser said was that he
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had perceived a distinct change in Pakistan’s foreign policy ever since Mr. Bhutto
had come on the scene. He also felt that Pakistan’s Foreign Minister understood
the Arab point of view better than his predecessors. He did however refer to the
past and complain that whereas India had accorded full support to Egypt against
Israeli aggression Pakistan had not done so. In the end he assured us of Egypt’s
co-operation on the Kashmir issue.
When our delegation arrived in Indonesia’s capital, President Soekarno cut short
a foreign tour and returned home so that “he could greet the guests who were
coming from Bhutto’s homeland.” In our meeting with us he said, “Bhutto and
Begum Bhutto are dear friends, and we would never like them to feel that we
have failed them in any way.” He insisted that we should prolong our stay in
Indonesia so that he could entertain us to his heart’s content. Our chief, Khwaja
Shahabuddin, thanked President Soekarno profusely but regretted that because
of our itinerary covering other countries we would not be able to extend our stay.
The President agreed, but only on the condition that after completing our
programme the delegation would pass through Indonesia once again.
President Soekarno had a very lively discussion with Sardar Ibrahim, and said,
“You can’t obtain freedom for Kashmir by taking out delegations and win world
opinion in your favour. You should go into the mountains and fight.” He told us
that the problem of Kashmir had been explained to world leaders in its correct
perspective for the first time by Mr. Bhutto.
In Senegal, the head of state assured us of his full support on the Kashmir
dispute. He spoke about Mr. Bhutto and said, “He is a good Muslim and he
wants all the Muslims of the world to come on one platform so that the influence
of capitalism can be eradicated.” Similarly, the top leader of Sudan wanted the
Kashmir dispute to be settled peacefully.
I am sorry I cannot recall the name of a former French colony which we also
visited during our tour, but we were received and treated right royally there, and
all because of the extraordinary popularity which Mr. Bhutto had earned among
the rulers. We also went to Spain and Italy. In Rome too, it was Mr. Bhutto’s
name which evoked a good welcome for us. In Spain, the rulers sincerely tried to
understand our point of view on Kashmir. Both these countries were neutral in
their posture. They did not express outright support but agreed that the people
of Kashmir should be given the right of self-determination as laid down in the
UN resolutions on the subject. We observed that most of the European countries
did not want to take sides in the matter and preferred not to support either
Pakistan or India. We also paid a visit to Japan where we called on the Prime
Minister. In those days, General Shaikh was our ambassador in Tokyo. The
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Prime Minister assured us that Japan wanted an amicable settlement of the
The fact is that some time before our delegations started their round-the-world
tour, Mr. Bhutto had been to most of the countries on our itinerary and had done
much to mould official opinion there towards accepting the justice of our cause
on Kashmir. It was because of his policy of bilateral negotiations that for the first
time Pakistan was able to present its case before the world in a proper manner
and the hollowness of India’s claims on Kashmir was exposed. India had to sit
up and take notice of how its propaganda tables were being turned, and it
directed its embassies abroad to take steps for countering the effects of our visit.
We took nearly four months to complete our assignment. As we landed back in
Pakistan we found that news of our successes in the world outside had already
reached Mr. Bhutto. In any case Khwaja Shahabuddin presented his report and
also addressed a press conference on the highlights of the long tour. We told
newsmen of what we had seen, heard and achieved in our places of visit, and
stressed the fact that Mr. Bhutto had made our job easier by previously working
effectively on the governments of the countries covered by us.
One day Mr. Bhutto called me. He looked very pleased, and said, “Well, you
have had your jaunt?” I explained to him some of the details of the tour and he
listened with interest, smiling occasionally. At the mention of President Soekarno
and President Nasser his face lit up with emotion and his obvious affection for
the two leaders. I told him what heads of state and government of various
countries had said about him. He must have been very much gratified but he
made no comment. As I got up to leave he shook me warmly by the hand and
said, “You people have done a great service to Pakistan.” You can imagine my
pleasure on hearing this.
It seems appropriate to refer at this stage to the speech made by Mr. Bhutto
before the Security Council on 22 September 1965, a day before the end of the
war with India in which he had mentioned the world tours of the Kashmir
delegations. He had said, “There are many nations of Africa and Asia which
entertained delegations of Kashmiri leaders a few weeks ago and lent their
support to the principle of self-determination for the people of the state and
recognised its urgency, a principle to which India and Pakistan stand committed.
These countries are Morocco, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Senegal,
Sudan, Somalia, Algeria, Turkey, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and many
Mr. Bhutto also read out the statement of President Bouraguiba of Tunisia which
he had made before the Kashmir delegation. The Tunisian head of state had said,
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“I remember the point of view I had expressed on this dispute many years ago.
That point of view was not based on a Muslim’s sympathy for other Muslims but
on a heartfelt respect for human society and the rights of man. I remember also
that I had publicly opposed the Indian stand on Kashmir, on the point that it was
refusing to abide by Security Council resolutions to hold a plebiscite in the state.
I am not supporting one party on an issue and criticizing another.
There is no question of Hindu or Muslim in my public stance. I am only basing
my comment on the findings arrived at by the Security Council. We have
informed the Prime Minister of India in writing that we cannot go along with his
country in this matter and continue to stand by our decision.”
Mr. Bhutto also quoted President Ben Bella of Algeria who had expressed similar
views and had said, “The problem of Kashmir has always engaged our attention
and we have made clear our standpoint that the people of Kashmir must be
allowed to determine their future by implementing the resolutions of the
Mr. Bhutto concluded his mention of world leaders’ support for the cause of the
Kashmiris by saying, “All these countries and many others have assured the
Kashmiri people of their support. Thus, in their fight against India’s chauvinism
and imperialism they have the backing of all those nations of Africa and Asia, as
also those of South America, who stand up against imperialism and colonialism.”
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THE 1965 WAR AND AFTER
It was hardly two months since our return as a delegation that on 6 September
1965 India attacked Pakistan. This was a cowardly act which had became
apparent in the previous few days. Because of the war, and for a considerable
time afterwards, Mr. Bhutto remained awfully busy, and a meeting with him was
almost impossible. Therefore I am not in a position to say anything, on the basis
of my personal observation, about how he felt during those days. Even so,
gleaning from contemporary reports, some events and happenings can be
There is no point in dilating on the war and how it proceeded and how it ended.
Every child in Pakistan knows how the nation valiantly defended itself against
the intruder from across the border. But there were also elements in motion
inside which were equally dangerous. Mr. Bhutto’s dream of a victory in
Kashmir was shattered by these very elements. When the United Nations began
to debate the Indo-Pak war, these elements, headed by Finance Minister
Mohammad Shoaib, who belonged to the American lobby and was a die-hard
opponent of Mr. Bhutto’s liberal and progressive foreign policy, managed to get
S.M. Zafar’s name approved by President Ayub to represent Pakistan at the UN.
The truth is that S.M. Zafar was a novice in the business, he had no experience of
foreign affairs, and was entirely ignorant of the devious ways in which the clever
Indian and other delegations manipulated things in the Security Council and the
General Assembly. Very soon it dawned on Ayub Khan that he had made a
mistake in nominating S.M. Zafar, so Mr. Bhutto was asked to leave at once for
New York. This was on 21 September.
Travelling day and night, Mr. Bhutto went straight to the meeting of the Security
Council after a long and tiring journey. Many times while speaking he could not
control his emotions and gave way to tears. Many newspapers which reported
him described his speech as the best ever heard in the United Nations. During
the speech he received a telegraphic message from Ayub Khan which stated that
although the Security Council’s cease-fire resolution was unsatisfactory, Pakistan
accepts it in the interest of international peace. At that moment it seemed as if Mr.
Bhutto, on reading the contents of the telegram, would burst into tears. The fact
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is that the way his speech was proceeding the impression was that he was going
to reject the cease-fire resolution. Anyway he was terribly disheartened.
On 28 September Mr. Bhutto addressed the UN General Assembly. The whole of
the past week had been spent by him in running about, meeting foreign heads of
state and government who were attending the session. In the presence of the
delegates from 104 nations, he stated that, in the absence of Chinese
representation, any discussion in the General Assembly on any subject or dispute
was meaningless. However he thanked Iran, Turkey, China and Indonesia
profusely for helping Pakistan in its hour of need and said the selfless aid of
these countries was not based on any political or parochial considerations but
because of sincere adherence to the fundamental objectives of the United Nations,
i.e. peace and justice.
A few days later when Mr. Bhutto returned home, he was extremely depressed.
He had been grieved as much by the weak posture of Ayub Khan as by the
callous attitude of the big powers, especially the United States. The latter had
also stopped aid to Pakistan. On the other hand a friend like President Soekarno
had said, “Take away all my weapons and fight on.”
On 8 October he left for New York to attend a meeting of the Security Council.
On 25 October he addressed the representatives of the world powers and told
them that whatever happens Pakistan will protect its honour, and for the sake of
its national prestige it was ready to take on the whole world. It was during this
address that the Indian representative had been left speechless and had left the
In January 1966 President Ayub and the Indian Prime Minister, Lal Bahadur
Shastri, went to Tashkent on the invitation of the Soviet Union. It is common
knowledge (and Mr. Bhutto also told me a number of times) that he was not in
favour of the agreement that was being finalized at Tashkent. It is also said that
when the Pakistan delegation refused to accept the Indian peace formula,
Kosygin the USSR Prime Minister, held a one-to-one meeting with Ayub Khan
for 45 minutes, but no one knows what transpired between the two. Mr. Bhutto
had been deliberately kept out of the meeting. Actually he was not happy at the
conference at all, as is evident from the fact that when the Pakistani team was
clapping spiritedly at the end of Mr. Shastri’s speech, Mr. Bhutto sat silent, his
hands folded tight. At one point when Kosygin, Shastri and Ayub got up to go
for talks and Mr. Bhutto also arose to go with them, Ayub Khan motioned him to
keep sitting. This happened again when Shastri asked Ayub Khan to go with him
to another room for a conference.
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The truth is that in these highest level talks Mr. Bhutto had insisted upon a
solution of the Kashmir issue which he considered imperative for meaningful
peace between India and Pakistan. That is why he was kept out of the secret
discussions. On his own Mr. Bhutto was deadly opposed to the agreement
arrived at privately between Shastri and Ayub. He was also against the overall
spirit of the pact which come to be known as the Treaty of Tashkent.
A few days later a photograph was published in the newspapers about Ayub and
Shastri signing the treaty. It showed a Bhutto sitting glum and angry watching
the ceremony. It is said that the ceremony was not yet over when Mr. Bhutto,
unable to control himself, wrote out his resignation, put it in Ayub Khan’s pocket
and left the room. He also did not take part in the press conference which
followed. If Ayub Khan, Khwaja Shahabuddin and Altaf Gauhar had not
managed to stop him, Mr. Bhutto might have flown from Tashkent that very day.
The most painful thing for him was the attitude adopted by Ayub Khan to the
Referring to Mr. Shastri’s death in Tashkent, Mr. Bhutto once told me that it
occurred because the Indian Prime Minister was so overjoyed at the contents of
the Tashkent Pact that he couldn’t contain himself. But despite his views, Mr.
Bhutto did participate in the last rites of Mr. Shastri, for respect to the dead had
to he shown. Mr. Bhutto also didn’t like Ayub’s jocular references to the Indian
P.M.’s short stature.
Mr. Bhutto’s entire reaction to Tashkent is summarized in what he told me once:
that left to him he would have repudiated the agreement.
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REVOLT AGAINST AYUB
After returning from Tashkent Mr. Bhutto was almost heart-broken. The treaty
signed there had wounded his very soul and killed his capacity to enjoy life and
be happy. He made another attempt to put in his resignation, but Ayub Khan
cajoled him and begged him not to leave the government. The daily routine of
working with the President was becoming a torture, and some people say that he
also tried a third time to resign and leave. Ayub Khan was apprehensive that if
he let Mr. Bhutto go he might take the people into confidence and create a stir
against the Tashkent pact, and this he wanted to avoid at all costs. He would
praise Mr. Bhutto to the skies and call him his son again and again, reminding
him what he had done for him and how much he loved and regarded him. He
wanted Mr. Bhutto to realize that his resignation would be in conflict with the
best national interest, that the opposition would make political capital out of it
and that the resultant unrest in the country might tempt India and the Soviet
Union to interfere again in Pakistan. Ayub Khan’s blandishments succeeded to
this extent that Mr. Bhutto agreed to postpone consideration of a resignation till
after the forthcoming National Assembly session in Dhaka, and winding up
some important matters connected with the SEATO and CENTO pacts. Pending
all this Mr. Bhutto left Rawalpindi and came to live in Larkana.
The next two or three weeks seemed as if Mr. Bhutto was under a dark cloud and
carrying an intolerable burden. I can hardly bear to talk of what I saw of him in
our meetings in Larkana. It is most painful. He would meet no one except very
close friends, and to then he would often say, “I wish I had not gone to
Tashkent.” In Larkana he perforce issued a statement about the Tashkent pact,
but it was ambiguous; apart from the fact that he did not say anything in its
support. This statement, issued on 15 January, stressed that Tashkent was not the
last word, nor could it be a turning point’ in our relations with India. Along with
this he characterized the Kashmir issue as Pakistan’s national problem and the
source of all its differences with India.
In the seclusion of Larkana he would not leave his room for hours on end, pacing
it like a disturbed soul. Begum Nusrat Bhutto describes his state of mind in the
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I have never seen him so perturbed in all our years together. He was
totally disillusioned. When I asked him the reason he glared at me and
said bluntly, “Ayub Khan has sold Pakistan at Tashkent. He neither
knows self-esteem nor understands national honour.” Saying this he
started pacing the room again and then added, as if speaking to himself, “I
can’t go along with Ayub now. He has dishonored himself as well as the
country.” He would repeat at intervals, “I can’t go along with him now.”
It is during those very days that Mr. Bhutto told me too that it was no longer
possible for him to work with Ayub Khan. According to him, Ayub Khan had
first threatened him with “a simple action through a tehsildar or a thanedar, but
when he stood up against him and refused to be cowed down, Ayub Khan at
once changed his tone and began to entreat him to give up his opposition, “Tell
me what industry you want to set up and you can have it.” Mr. Bhutto spurned
this offer too. When he was telling me all this his eyes were blazing with anger
and indignation. I was left amazed by his faith and determination.
Mr. Bhutto gradually took steps to distance himself from Ayub Khan. He was
Secretary General of the Convention Muslim League. He began by resigning that
post. It was rumoured that Mr. Bhutto had also resigned from the cabinet and
that Ayub Khan was not letting him go.
In March 1966 Mr. Bhutto participated in the National Assembly session in
Dhaka. Following this he undertook a tour of Iran. Coming back, he greeted the
Chinese leader Liu Shao Chi on his state visit to Pakistan. After conducting the
Chinese guest over the two wings of the country, he left for Ankara to be at the
ministerial level conference of CENTO, and then after a few days, attended a
similar conference of the RCD in Teheran. In the first week of June he proceeded
on a visit to Indonesia.
In the meantime things had come to such a pass that Ayub Khan had reconciled
himself to a parting of the ways and was now anxious to get rid of Mr. Bhutto.
As Foreign Minister he had completed his last assignments with professional
honesty. Ayub Khan was thinking in terms of sending Mr. Bhutto on forced
leave because of his alleged indisposition. In the newspapers of 18 June a report
appeared that Mr. Bhutto had been granted leave on grounds of health. The
President kept the Foreign Affairs portfolio with himself and made it known that
there would be no change in the foreign policy of Pakistan. The intention was to
create the impression that the foreign policy was of Ayub Khan’s own making
and the departure of Mr. Bhutto would make no difference.
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The last meeting between Mr. Bhutto and Ayub Khan took place in the evening
of 17 June. Whatever transpired between the two is still a secret; but it is plain
that, in view of the stance adopted by Mr. Bhutto, Ayub Khan must have decided
that this was the final break. In any case there is evidence to show that Mr.
Bhutto was pleased at leaving the government in this fashion.
Begum Nusrat Bhutto states that he was very happy. He had come to understand
a long time ago that he could do no service to the country by sticking to Ayub
Khan and his coterie of politicians. As she describes it, “He looked satisfied and
contented. He was happy like the prisoner who is suddenly released after a long
confinement. Naturally I too was glad to see him in this state, as were the
children. And our happiness was not without cause; we could see that his
withdrawal from the cabinet was a sign of better days in every respect—
personally, intellectually and - from the national angle.”
In this context I am reminded of a speech that Mr. Bhutto made in the
Hyderabad convention of the PPP in September 1968 in which he mentioned for
the first time his last conversation with Ayub Khan.
Let me tell you (he said) what President and I talked about when we met
for the last time. It was evening and I had gone to say farewell. We sat in
the room with green walls about which it is reputed that there the
President conducts his most important meetings. About this green room
Fazlul Qadir Chaudhry had once said to me, “Bhutto, now that you have
seen the Green Room there is no cause left for any fear!” What kind of
proceedings take place in that room, that you can imagine from the
dialogue between me and the President. “Look,” said the President’, “a
gulf has been created between our respective policies. I have tried to
dissuade you from a policy which goes against my wishes but you have
not cared to respect them.
He then pointed to an Urdu magazine lying on the table which had
quoted me as saying that even if we have to fight India again for the
freedom and right to self-determination of the Kashmiris, we should be
ready to do so. “What’s all this?” he asked, “You are forcing me to make
you leave the cabinet.” I replied that I had already requested him three
times to let me go because there was now a big gap between his thinking
and mine. That is why I had begged leave to depart. On this he changed
his tone and said, “You have done great service to the country and the
nation and I don’t want to deprive you of power and authority. This is
what I said to you in Larkana too.” My answer was that I could not
sacrifice my principles for the sake of power and authority. I cherished
these principles dearly. It was better if I was allowed to go my way.
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President Ayub was silent for a moment and then he resumed, “If you are
removed from office there might be an agitation in the country. What you
should do is to proceed on leave for some time. After that we’ll see.” I was
already disgusted with the government, so I accepted his decision. But
apparently this was not all, and the President added, “Remember one
thing more. Don’t ever turn to politics in the future.” I could not swallow
this threat and I said, “No force in the world can keep me away from my
people. If ever the nation needs my services and it calls upon me I shall
respond to its call. To take part or not to take part in politics is not for you
and me to decide. The masses will decide this, because the fate of those
who are in politics is determined by their desires. If the masses are of the
opinion that I should participate in politics then you may not be able to
prevent me from doing their bidding.”
Looking at my inflexible attitude the President offered me the bait of
ambassadorship and wealth. He said, “Bhutto you can have whatever you
want.” On this I reminded him of our conversation in Larkana and said,
“Let me make it clear that I do not hanker after office and authority. I have
my ideals and I cannot shed them in order to remain in the government.
Because of these ideals the people have given me their affection, and they
are dearer to me than anything else.”
Friends! You know that power comes and goes. It is not everlasting. Even
autocratic kings and dictators like Alexander, the Pharaohs, Changez
Khan and Hitler could not keep it for ever. What is everlasting and what is
never lost is the reputation of persons who have served their people and
given them justice; who were ready to give up all they had for the masses.
History never pays tribute to a tyrant, nor does it ignore the sacrifices of
those who love humanity. Ministers come and go, and only those are
remembered who served the people. Maulvi Fazlul Hag reached the age
of eighty but he was a minister for only a couple of years. When the nation
gave him the little of “Lion of Bengal” it was not because of his years as
minister but his lifelong service for his people. Quaid-i-Azam was
Governor General for just a year, but the people can never forget him, for
he never abandoned his principles for the sake of power and being in the
You might recall that the Congress had offered him the presidentship or
prime ministership of India if he gave up the demand for Pakistan, but he
kicked away the offer. Mountbatten, at the instance of the Hindus had
said to him, “Why do you want to divide the subcontinent? Forget
partition and you can become the governor general of a united India.”
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Quaid-i-Azam’s reply was, “I don’t want to be governor general of India. I
want Pakistan.” This is the basic difference between men of principle and
those who stick to chairs of office by sacrificing their principles.
When I refused all his attractive offers, the President said to me, “Bhutto
you have became proud and conceited, otherwise you would not have
spoken to me like that. But I feel for you, because you have been brought
up in the lap of luxury and you are not acquainted with grief, pain and
troubles. Remember that I am president of this country and you know
how I treat my opponents. I give you final warning that if you go into
politics on your return from leave I will destroy you. Don’t forget that you
belong to Sindh where one tehsildar or thanedar is sufficient to deal with
the biggest of Pir Pagaras.”
I thanked him for this “praise” of Sindh and Sindhis, but I added, “You
too should remember that I do not believe in class, creed or colour and
parochialism, and I do not contribute to the British philosophy that race
and colour determine the moral fibre of a people or make it brave or
cowardly. My concept is that all men are equal—whether they are black
Africans or the diminutive Chinese, Japanese and Viet Namese or the tall
and well-built Americans. Don’t try to frighten me on the basis of Sindhi
and non-Sindhi. What right have you to take the people of Sindh as
cowards? And if you are bent upon destroying me and chasing me to my
grave then don’t forget that everyone has to go to their graves.” On this,
the President’s parting words were, “All right. Now go and enjoy your
leave. These matters can be discussed afterwards.”
On 22 June Mr. Bhutto left Rawalpindi for Lahore. The “dismissed” Foreign
Minister was now a common and free citizen. The whole of Lahore had collected
at the railway station to have a glimpse of him. Details of this reception have
appeared in newspapers many times, so there is no point in repeating them. Mr.
Bhutto could not keep hold of his emotions at this affectionate welcome and his
tear-stained handkerchief was auctioned for a heavy price.
Along with a large crowd of loyal and devoted people were waiting at the
Larkana railway station. These people were raising slogans of “Pride of
Pakistan” and “Pride of Asia.” The son of the people was coming back to the
people so he had to be given a hero’s welcome. After a few days Mr. Bhutto left
for Europe in the company of his wife and children. Begum Nusrat Bhutto relates:
“We spent some three months in Europe. During this period we had chalked out
a programme for the future.” A sketch for a new political party was now clear in
Mr. Bhutto’s mind. After three months the Bhutto family returned home via
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This visit to Europe had given rise to rumours that Mr. Bhutto had been forced to
go abroad because the acclaim that he received at Lahore, Larkana and other
railway stations on the way had made Ayub Khan nervous. By the time Mr.
Bhutto came back to Pakistan, Ayub Khan had armed himself with plans to end
his influence. The process of character assassination began in the National
Assembly through charges of stealing government tractors, allegations about
Indian citizenship and other baseless accusations. One Qadir, who is related to
me and who was in charge of the tractor case, told me there was simply nothing
in the case and it would fizzle out.
However, as soon as Mr. Bhutto was out of the government, many prominent
persons of Sindh began “a change of clothes”. The Chandios, the Bughios, the
Magsis and other big landlords rejected Mr. Bhutto and aligned themselves in
the new line-up against him, swearing allegiance to Ayub Khan. On the other
hand the masses, the common people, became ready to lay down their lives for
Since Mr. Bhutto seemed headed for active politics he began to receive
invitations from the Council Muslim League, the NAP and other parties to join
them. He had already left the Convention Muslim League, and any political
party which wanted to benefit from the political assets of this young man who
was building up a following among the masses, would have welcomed him with
open arms. He even held a dialogue with the leadership of the NAP in this
connection, but it seemed that he was not ready to fall from one net into another.
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THE PPP IS BORN
On 16 September 1967 in Hyderabad, at the residence of Mir Rasul Bakhsh
Talpur, Mr. Bhutto announced in a press conference that the formation of a new
political party was the only means through which he could obtain the objectives
in his mind for the people. He made similar statements at other gatherings too.
And then on 30 November the Pakistan People’s Party came into being in Lahore.
By this time a large number of well-known persons had gathered around him. In
Larkana, Abdul Waheed Katpar proved to be a great asset for the PPP and he
played a vital role in installing the party in that city on a firm footing. Abdur
Razzaq Soornro, who, at the time of writing, is Pakistan’s ambassador in the
UAE, can be counted among its earliest devotees and he brought Qaim Ali Shah
and Syed Abdullah Shah (many years later to become Sindh’s Chief Minister)
into the party. Pyar Ali Allana kept his allegiance to Mr. Bhutto privy from Ayub
Khan and worked secretly. Of course Rasul Bakhsh Talpur contributed a lot to
the party for he had severed his connection with Ayub Khan in the very
beginning and announced his loyalty towards Mr. Bhutto. Makhdoom Tilibul
Maula also joined Mr. Bhutto, while the Pir Sahib of Ranipur supported him
surreptitiously. Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi took some time to come in.
On 30 November 1967 the foundation meeting to bring the party into being was
to be held in the house of Dr Mubashir Hasan in Lahore’s Gulberg and there was
great excitement in the city. Representatives of all areas of West Pakistan had
reached Lahore. The government had already briefed reporters of the “occupied”
newspapers to create the impression that the meeting had been a failure, but this
was a truly revolutionary gathering. Some 400 delegates had come to swear
allegiance to a new leader, and among them the younger group holding rather
radical political views predominated. Students were the most enthusiastic.
Where on one side there were veterans like Mir Rasul Bakhsh Talpur, on the
other were to be found fiery young men like Amanullah. Strict checking was
being made at the entrance to the panda] because rumours were rife in the city
that the pandal was to be set on fire. Delegates from East Pakistan were
prevented from attending by courtesy of PIA, but by all accounts it was a
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J.A. Rahim, Abdul Waheed Katpar, Khursheed Hasan Meer, Shaikh Mohammad
Rashid, Hayat Mohammad Khan Sherpao, Amanullah Khan, Meraj Mohammad
Khan, Haq Nawaz Gandapur, Dr Mubashir Hasan, Begum Abad Ahmad, Begum
Shaheen Haneef Ramay, Begum Anwar Ghalib, Malik Hamid Sarfaraz, Ghazi
Zakauddin, Comrade Ghulam Ahmed, Rafiq Ahmad Bajwa, Said Umar Khan,
Mian Mohammad Iqbal, Mir Hamid Hasan and many other delegates were
strangers for the people of Lahore.
Mr. Bhutto entered the pandal at exactly ten a.m. The audience stood up to greet
him and the pandal reverberated with ovation for a few minutes. The
proceedings of the foundation meeting included speeches by the delegates,
endorsement of the foundation documents, determining the party flag and
organizational matters. It was a long session, but the interest of the participants
Mr. Bhutto presided over the session. The delegates offered him their services
unconditionally, though a few among them made some sarcastic remarks which
were aimed at a Bhutto who was a prince of Sindh. But the meeting was being
chaired by a new Bhutto, the people’s Bhutto. When slogans were raised to finish
the jagirdari system Mr. Bhutto joined in them. As Aslam Gurdaspuri was
reading out his poem there was a reference to feudal landlordism at one point, so
he turned towards Mr. Bhutto and said “With apologies.” Mr. Bhutto at once
retorted, “No apologies!” In his speech Mr. Bhutto said:
The hearts of the people are with us. Not only in the whole of Pakistan but
eyes of the whole of Asia, Europe, Africa and Latin America are on us
today because the People’s Party is truly the people’s own party. It is not
being foisted on the nation like the Convention Muslim League or the
It is not easy to start a new party and to organise and run it, but we shall
overcome all obstacles with the cooperation of the people, because
principles can never be sacrificed nor can they ever meet with failure. It is
true that in every beginning the number of adherents of revolutionary
movements is small, but such radical movements are always crowned
with success. Present day conditions in Pakistan call for the adoption of a
long way. We learn from other’s experience and analysis that in matters
governing the fate of the people and the country, the shorter course
always leads to a mirage.
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The foundation session lasted for two full days. Mr. Bhutto was selected as
Chairman of the Pakistan People’s Party. When the session ended, Mr. Bhutto
addressed a press conference and characterized reports about the party being
sponsored by a foreign power as baseless and ridiculous. He said,
I am a Pakistani and I have always kept the interests of my country close
to my heart. Let me state very clearly that I have not been inspired by any
During the foundation session, Mr. Bhutto, as chairman of the PPP, laid before
the audience his views on a number of subjects. Regarding the foreign policy of
Pakistan he said,
The reason for deterioration of our relations with the United States is that
the world view of that country conflicted with Pakistan’s policies.
Naturally we had to keep the interests of our country in mind and we
could not sacrifice those interests. In my time Pakistan’s relations with
Afghanistan, Romania, Indonesia, China, Burma and the USSR were
improved and strengthened. I consider the struggle for freedom of the
Viet Namese people as our struggle. We shall support the fundamental
rights of all subjugated people in ie world, whatever the consequences.
Mr. Bhutto also dilated on the political role of the masses and, as chairman of the
new party said,
Once the masses organise themselves for the principles of a party of the
people, I don’t see any reason why their future should not be bright. To
counter the inimical designs of the Anglo-American bloc and of India it is
necessary to inform the masses and turn them into a solid phalanx. To
attain this purpose the People’s Party wants to convert the masses into
revolutionary mujahideen. Everyone in Pakistan should be armed and
trained in warfare, so that if there is another attack on Pakistan we should
be able to annihilate the enemy like the freedom fighters of Viet Nam and
Algeria. It is a pity that despite the war the government has paid no
attention to this matter.
Mr. Bhutto had also some definite things to say about the existing political
system in Pakistan. He said,
The ruling party will never be able to achieve the objective of national
unity with its present posture because it is a party of exploitation. In
Islamabad there are a few bureaucrats who, instead of doing their allotted
jobs, are interfering in politics to an intolerable extent. If politics is such a
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passion for them why don’t they form a party and present themselves
before the people? Such elements are the Rasputins of Pakistan and I
warm them to stop meddling in politics and do what they are paid to do.
Only two years had passed since the war with India which was basically over
Kashmir. This is what Mr. Bhutto had to say about the Kashmir problem:
We shall not accept any solution of the Kashmir problem except on the
basis of the right of self-determination for the people of the state. It is
regrettable what some circles are heard saying: that for the present the
international dispute of Kashmir should be put on the shelf and Pakistan
and India should work towards mutual cooperation. Let me tell you that
the present regime is resiling from its previous stand on the Kashmir issue.
Since the PPP had been formed for the political, economic and social welfare of
the masses Mr Bhutto delineated his views on socialism. He said:
The apparently insoluble problems facing Pakistan today can never be got
rid of unless Islamic Socialism as a system is introduced in the country.
This is the basis of the ideology of Pakistan. At the movement the very
ideals and principles for which Indian Muslims gave such great sacrifices
for a homeland are being ignored. The people have been deprived of their
fundamental political, economic and civic rights. This country belongs to
ten crore Pakistanis and not to an individual. It is the masses who own
this country and they alone have the right to decide their future and the
future of the coming generations. They cannot be kept away from these
rights for long. And it is this basic purpose for which the People’s Party
has been formed.
The destinies of nations are not determined by a few political parties or
individuals. This is done by the people themselves. What a great tragedy
it is that the masses who won this homeland on solid principles should
today be labelled immature and unenlightened and, on this ground, their
basic democratic rights should be snatched from them. It is imperative
that in order to strengthen national unity and integrity, the masses should
assemble under the People’s Party’s banner and launch a wholehearted
struggle for restoration of their supremacy and their fundamental rights in
order to bring about a society which can ensure economic and social
equality and the rule of law and justice.
It is only through this change that the present state of exploitation and
robbery can be eradicated. The fact is that this country can only become
powerful and prosperous if the lives of workers and peasants are
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improved and equality of means and resources is established among the
people on the basis of the Islamic way of life. Otherwise it will not be
possible to remove the existing unrest among the people and the economic
inequality that prevails.
It is not the intention of the People’s Party to foment a class struggle, but
the masses will certainly not allow a handful of selected persons to
became their masters on the strength of their political and economic
power. We are not against private ownership but we do want to bring it
into the orbit of public ownership so that everyone can benefit from this
We are not time-servers and reactionaries; we are socialists. Our creed is
that everyone should have equal opportunities in every field of life for
progress and prosperity. The trouble is that those who are engaged in
exploitation and looting the resources of the country have neither the time
nor the inclination to look at the deplorable condition of the people.
Since freedom of the press was one of the most important aims before any
political party, the newly-elected Chairman directed himself to this subject too.
We are all for the freedom of the press, because newspapers and working
journalists can play a definite role in strengthening democracy and
achieving the rule of law, justice and economic equality. This is so because
it is their duty to point out the avenues for society’s betterment and guide
political parties in this behalf. You know how much the nation has
suffered because of a controlled press. Journalists are being dismissed
from government newspapers for publishing news of the people’s interest.
They are forced to twist news of the opposition and thus keep the masses
ignorant of the truth.
In the foundation meeting of the PPP, 25 resolutions were passed and ten basic
documents were released. The resolutions included tributes to the defence forces
and to Miss Fatima Jinnah, condemnation of efforts to hamper the convention,
issues pertaining to Kashmir, military pacts, problems of defence, landlordism
and feudalism, demands for industrial workers, cooperation with opposition
parties for restoration of civic rights, ending the Defence of Pakistan Rules,
democracy in Azad Kashmir, freedom of education, Viet Nam, Cyprus, Middle
East and Third World, issues, winding up the National Press Trust, rights of the
minorities and rehabilitation of refugees.
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The documents released were on the party’s name and its flag, “Why a new
party?” and “Why socialism in Pakistan?” basic principles, development of the
economy, announcement of people’s unity, Jammu & Kashmir, and a reply to the
Six Points of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
I think that after the 1940 Pakistan Resolution this was another historic decision
taken by Mr. Bhutto in the historic city of Lahore, aimed at changing the destiny
of the people of Pakistan. But this was just a start; a long and arduous struggle
lay ahead. When we got back to Larkana, Ayub Khan’s anger reached
monumental proportions. Meetings were physically disrupted, there were
murderous attacks and of course a new round of arrests. This story was to be
repeated again and again.
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MOVEMENT AGAINST AYUB
Mr. Bhutto had already become a nightmare for Ayub Khan. The formation of
the Pakistan People’s Party started giving him sleepless nights. The first attack
on the party took the form of destroying the public meeting in Ali Park. On 17
January 1968, in Multan, hired hooligans attacked the hotel where Mr. Bhutto
was staying.. In Larkana the crowd recovered a pistol from a young man in a
party procession. Abdul Waheed Kaptar and I took him to the police station
where he confessed to being involved in a conspiracy to murder.
The month of January 1968 was devoted by Mr. Bhutto to touring the Punjab,
while he spent February and the first half of March in going around various
cities in Sindh. On the first of March Abdul Waheed Katpar, in his capacity as
President of the Bar Association, Larkana, presented an address. This campaign
for contacting the people went on for many moths. It began to look from the
statements of Qazi Fazlullah, West Pakistan Home Minister, that Mr. Bhutto
would not be left free for long.
During this period I was also implicated in a murder case. One day Mr. Bhutto
was in my village. At that time he was becoming almost intolerable for Ayub
Khan. He sat with me for a long time and went back late at night. The next
morning was involved in a murder case whereas the fact is that a man had been
killed in a quarrel about land about which I knew nothing. When I came to know
about it, I left my village and walked nearly 12 miles to meet Mumtaz Ali Bhutto.
He told me that Mr. Bhutto had already come to know about the false case and
that he was waiting for me in Naudero. Mumtaz and I drove over to Naudero.
Mr. Bhutto said to me, “Don’t worry. Such things happen in politics. They only
want to frighten you away.” We talked for some time about the ups and downs
of such political cases.
After this Mr. Bhutto and I came away to Larkana. He directed me to stay in Al-
Murtaza and not to go anywhere till he wanted me to. These were the last days
of the Ayub Khan era. A month later Ayub Khan had to abdicate on the pressure
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of the people, and Yahya Khan became President. Mr. Bhutto called on the new
president and told him how, on the orders of Ayub Khan, murder cases had been
vengefully instituted against his most active workers. Yahya Khan promised to
do something about it. The next day the Martial Law Administrator of Khairpur
came to Larkana and met Mumtaz Bhutto and told him that Yahya Khan had
given him instructions about the Chakar Junejo matter. The next day the case
against me was withdrawn. This was just one example of how Mr. Bhutto came
to the aid of his devoted workers.
The last few months of the Ayub Khan regime were a period of struggle and
success for the People’s Party. On 3 November 1968 the third convention of the
party was held in Sherpao. Addressing the convention Chairman Bhutto said
that within less than a year branches of the People’s Party had started
functioning successfully in every nook and corner of Pakistan. He said that when
he had announced the formation of his party the ruling regime had taken it as a
huge joke. The opposition parties too had been critical of the new party, but to
bring about a new system a new party was the need of the day. In his address he
laid particular stress on the basic objectives of the PPP, especially socialism, and
also talked of the mass media which had been engaged in intense propaganda
against the party day and night.
I had been especially asked to attend the convention by a telegram sent by Mr.
Bhutto. First I reached Peshawar and put up at a hotel. After changing, I went to
Sherpao where the convention was under way. I met Mr. Bhutto during the
interval for lunch.
“You have come, Chakar?”, he said
“Pir Bakhsh has not come with you?”
“No Sain, he couldn’t make it.”
Mr. Bhutto told me that from Sherpao they had to leave for another village so I
should keep myself in readiness. I was in a quandary, for my luggage and things
were in the Peshawar hotel and I didn’t have a change of clothing with me. I
mentioned my problem to Mumtaz Bhutto and requested him to give me
something fresh to wear. He smiled, but I couldn’t guess that he was in the mood
to joke. He said, “Go to my room. There is a suit there which you can wear.” I felt
so grateful that the problem was being solved so easily. The room into which
Mumtaz guided me was not his but that of Mr. Bhutto. I put on the suit I saw
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lying there and as I came out and passed in front of Mr. Bhutto, he started and
then said, “Chakar, where are you off to in my suit?”
I was left dumbfounded and I stammered, “Sain, I thought these were Mumtaz’s
Mr. Bhutto beckoned to Mumtaz, who laughed and said, “I played this joke on
Chakar.” Mr. Bhutto was very amused and said, “We’ll go to Peshawar first so
that Chakar can change and give me back my suit.” The joke was the cause of
considerable enjoyment on the part of Mr. Bhutto for many days.
Mr. Bhutto also addressed a public meeting in Peshawar where he said he was
not a magician; he had nothing new to say to the people of the Frontier. But then
he asked,”If I say there is poverty in the country, is that something new? If I say
there is dictatorship in Pakistan, will that be something new?” Then he added:
We have had governments of cannibals in Pakistan. They ate up Khwaja
Nazimuddin and Suhrawardy. I won’t talk about Mohtarma Fatima
Jinnah, but this regime has consumed General Azam Khan. It has
swallowed many notable personalities, but its hunger has not been
appeased. But I tell you it won’t be able to eat me. We are watching how
conditions are deteriorating day by day. When we point to this neglect,
this degeneration, we are accused of spreading disaffection and fomenting
trouble. Then we are charged with misleading the students. I can only feel
sorry for the authorities trying to distort facts.
During this tour Hayat Mohammad Khan Sherpao also asked Mr. Bhutto to pay
a visit to Charsadda. There he was surrounded by people eager to talk to him
and they fired questions at him in Pushto. Mr. Bhutto said he didn’t know
Pushto and would they please talk in Urdu? Their enthusiasm was worth seeing.
They talked with him for quite some time. One man even asked him to go to his
Soon after the PPP came into being, Mr. Bhutto decided to address a public
meeting in Dadu and he sent me to make the arrangements. There was no place
for Mr. Bhutto to stay in Dadu. I went to the then deputy commissioner, Ahmad
Sadiq, and telling him about the programme of the meeting, requested him to do
something about putting up Mr. Bhutto for the night.
Ahmad Sadiq said, “You know how much Ayub Khan is opposed to Bhutto
Sahib these days. You can imagine how he will treat the man who arranges
lodging for Bhutto Sahib. Anyway, come and see me in the evening.”
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When I went to him in the evening, Ahmad Sadiq had decided what to do. He
said, “He can he lodged in the District Council rest house. As for the government,
leave the explanation to me.” As I thanked him he added, “Although there is, no
permission from the government Mr. Bhutto can put up there.” After a minute he
added, “The rest house is not in a good condition but we shall touch it up in the
next two days.
So Mr. Bhutto stayed in that rest house, and so did I. The mosquitoes there were
a terrible nuisance, but Mr. Bhutto did not complain. Rather he was grateful to
Ahmed Sadiq for his help and thereby putting his job in danger.
In November 1968 the popular movement against Ayub Khan had started. He
tried to crush it by force. For the past few months Ayub Khuhro, Qazi Fazlullah,
A.K. Sumar and others had been spouting poison against Mr. Bhutto. On 11
November, Governor Mohammad Musa of West Pakistan had the inspiration
that “miscreants” were out to indulge in “subversive activities” so, in order to
prevent such activities Mr. Bhutto was arrested from Dr Mubashir’s house in
Gulberg on 13 November. Armed police surrounded the house at 1.30 a.m. at
night. A police officer ordered the watchman to open the gate but the man
refused. The police pushed him aside. The noise woke up Dr Mubashir who
came out. On seeing the police he understood what they wanted. But he asked
them, “What brings you here? Whom do you seek?”
The DSP replied, “We have come to meet Bhutto Sahib.”
Dr Sahib asked them to wait and, going inside, told Mr. Bhutto of what was afoot.
Without a shade of concern, Mr. Bhutto said, “Call them in.” Dr Mubashir
brought the DSP to Mr. Bhutto’s room. The officer said, “Sir we have orders. It is
an unpleasant duty that we have to perform.”
Dr. Mubashir asked the police officer to sit down and show him the papers,
which the officer did. Mr. Bhutto said to the DSP, “Please wait a few minutes. I’ll
Dr Sahib brought the policemen out in the passage so that Mr. Bhutto should be
able to dress in peace. At that time Mumtaz Ali Bhutto and Pir Bakhsh Bhutto
were also there and they too came to know what was going on. The police officer
seemed to be worried about Mustafa Khar, for he asked, “Where is Mustafa
Dr Mubashir replied, “He’s not here.” The DSP also enquired about Mir Rasul
Bakhsh Talpur, but he too was not there. Dr Mubashir was helping Mr. Bhutto to
pack his things in the only hold-all in the house. This took up two hours. As the
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party was about to leave, Dr Mubashir asked the police officers if they would like
some tea, but they declined. Mr. Bhutto too was not in a mood for a cup of tea.
When Mr Bhutto came out, ready to leave, his luggage was placed in the police
car. We all bid him Khuda Hafiz and he sat down as the back seat with a police
officer beside him. There were three policemen on the front seat, and a police van
preceded the car while one followed behind. As this fleet left the house, the DSP
turned to Dr Mubashir and said, “Now you too get ready.” Dr Sahib asked to see
the warrants of arrest which the DSP showed him. They were for Mumtaz Bhutto
and Dr Mubashir. As for Pir Bakhsh Bhutto the DSP said the papers were in the
police station. At first Dr Mubashir refused to let Pir Bakhsh go with him, saying,
“He’s my guest Ican’t let, you take him.” But the man insisted and gave an
assurance to Dr Sahib, “Please trust me. The warrant is there, only it is in the
police station.” Dr Mubashir relented and they all went with the police.
There was no other male member in Dr Muhashir’s house. So the policemen had
the drawing room opened and, sprawling themselves on the sofas, asked the
servants to make tea for them. They unnecessarily started interrogating Begum
Mubashir who snubbed them sternly. But they neither left nor would they allow
her to leave the house. The telephone wire had already been cut.
Among others who had been arrested were the NAP President. Abdul Wali Khan,
Ghulam Mustafa Khar, Mumtaz Bhutto, Arbab Sikandar Khan Khalih. Mir Rasul
Bakhsh Talpur, Ajmal Khattak, the famous Sindhi poet Shaikh Ayaz, Amanullah
Khan and Ahmed Raza Khan. Governor Musa had the regular radio
transmission stopped in order to announce the arrest of Mr. Bhutto and other
The official statement said that some mischievous elements were engaged in
spreading lawlessness in the country. They had been warned to desist from their
anti-social activities but they did not heed the warming and continued to create
disturbance and chaos. When activities reached their peak, their leaders were
arrested early this morning. If their stooges try to be a nuisance they will be
crushed. Mr. Bhutto’s arrest order was in the following words:
“Being satisfied that Mr. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto son of Mr. Shahnawaz Bhutto,
resident of Larkana, Pakistan, has been acting against the interest, security
and tranquility of Pakistan and that his activities are a danger to public
peace in West Pakistan, now therefore, in order to prevent the said Mr.
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto from indulging in these activities, and, in exercise of
the powers vested in him by Ru1e33.1(b) of the Defence of Pakistan Rules
(read with Government of Pakistan Cabinet Secretariat Order No. SRO III,
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1965 dated 6 September 1965) the Governor of West Pakistan is pleased to
order the arrest and detention of the said
Mr. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and, for this purpose, place him at the disposal of
the Superintendent, Central Jail, Mianwali.”
With the arrest of Mr. Bhutto the movement against Ayub gained further
impetus. To this his illness contributed in no less a manner. Disgust and
disappointment against the regime swept the country. Then there was the
incident of firing at President Ayub a public meeting in Peshawar. Seeing no way
out Ayub Khan decided to adopt the course of compromise and conciliation. Mr.
Bhutto was transferred to Larkana on 12 February 1969. From the train he was
taken straight to Al-Murtaza and police was posted there to guard him. Mr.
Bhutto decided to go on hunger-strike to protest his detention. We all were
determined to emulate his example.
On 13 February Abdul Waheed Katpar announced that if the emergency was not
lifted from the country immediately Mr. Bhutto would begin his hunger, strike
after the Friday prayer on 14 February. He disclosed that hundreds of people all
over West Pakistan would also join the hunger strike from that moment to
express their solidarity with him. Air Marshal Asghar Khan came to Larkana and
met Mr. Bhutto in order to dissuade him, but Mr. Bhutto’s response was, “My life
is not more precious than that of 12 crore Pakistanis. I would prefer to die in the
The same day a meeting was held at the residence of Abdul Waheed Katpar, who
was Chairman of the Sindh PPP, in which hundreds of young men participated.
Here the first batch of the People’s Guard was commissioned, composed of 40
devoted youths. Each of these 40 persons, to demonstrate their eligibility for this
devoted new force, placed his finger in the flame of a lighted candle for ten
seconds. (Only one young man had hesitated so he was not included.) The forty
swore on the Quran that they would obey every order of Chairman Bhutto and
would not hesitate to lay down their lives to do so. Later similar batches of the
People’s Guard were raised in their cities too.
Mr. Bhutto kept his word and the hunger strike began as scheduled. As he
formally initiated it on the veranda of his house, some of his closest companions,
that is Ghulam Mustafa Khar, Dr Mubashir Hasan, Abdul Waheed Katpar, Nisar
Mohammed Khan and myself, joined him. However, Mr. Bhutto decided that no
one else in the country should follow suit. This hunger strike was terminated on
17 February when the Defence of Pakistan Rules (DPR) were withdrawn and the
emergency came to an end.
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Actually the government had announced on 14 February that the emergency was
to be lifted after two days. Simultaneously with that action, all the leaders,
including Mr. Bhutto, whose arrests had taken place under the DPR, were
ordered to be released. The people of Larkana took out a magnificent procession
to celebrate Mr. Bhutto’s freedom. When this procession reached the Municipal
Committee office a young man tried to fire at Mr. Bhutto, but we caught hold of
him and his pistol. The crowd was furious and would have torn the culprit from
limb to limb but the Quaid-i-Awam motioned them to calm down and, on his
direction, his life was spared and he was handed over to the police. On this
occasion Mr. Bhutto said in his speech:
The black laws are still in operation. The clouds of tyranny and
oppression are hovering over us and the people’s tongues have been
sealed. In these circumstances how can an atmosphere conducive to a
dialogue of peace be created? I am waiting for no invitation, nor am I
anxious to join in any round table conference. All my energies are centred
on the problems of the people. I want these problems to be solved; I want
an end to bureaucratic government. I want students, workers and haris to
get their rights; I want democracy to be restored in the country. The
people’s problems will not be solved by conferences. What is necessary is
that they should get their rights which are their due.
No single person can appropriate these rights and then make a show of
concession by giving them back.
Mr. Bhutto also said that he know who was behind the murderous attack on him
in the procession, but he would rather not name the real villain. This was not the
first time that an attempt had been made on his life.
A couple of days later Mr. Bhutto departed for Karachi by train. At two o’clock at
night the citizens of Larkana turned out in large numbers and saw him off at the
railway station just as someone bids farewell to a very dear and near one. There
were thousands of people at the station at that late hour. Many of them raised
their hands to pray for his safety. “May Bhutto live for a thousand years!” was
their slogan, to which were added vociferous shouts of “Tyrants, give an account
of your deeds! What about the blood you have shed?”
On 24 February Mr. Bhutto returned the civil award of Hilal-i-Pakistan. As the
drama of the round table conference commenced, he refused to participate in it
and went on with his campaign to meet and contact the people. On 13 March
Ayub Khan willy nilly accepted the principle of a parliamentary form of
government and general elections on the basis of adult franchise. But the fact is
that the end of the Ayub regime had come. On 24 March in a letter to Yahya
Khan he admitted his failure and requested him “to save Pakistan from
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disintegration” with the help of the armed forces. The next day Yahya
announced the imposition of martial law in the country.
Not long afterwards, Yahya responded to Ayub Khan’s appeal to save Pakistan
by breaking up the country.
BREAKING-UP OF PAKISTAN
Immediate after promulgating martial law, Yahya Khan announced his intention
to hold general elections on the basis of adult franchise and, after handing over
power to the elected representatives of the people, to relinquish office. Mr.
Bhutto and the People’s Party and almost every other political party welcomed
the announcement. Because of this, Mr. Bhutto did not feel the need for any
conflict or confrontation with Yahya Khan. The latter visited Larkana and there
was a display of goodwill from both sides.
Once Yahya Khan expressed his desire to listen to Sufi poetry set to music. Mr.
Bhutto asked me to arrange a performance. I collected the well-known singers in
this genre and took them to the Governor’s House in Karachi. Till then Yahya
Khan had not got into the habit of drowning himself in drink and debauch, at
least he did not make a blatant show of it, because he listened to the performers
with great interest. Mr. Bhutto too was a keen admirer of the sufis and relished
their poetry and its music. He asked me not to let the performers go yet. So the
next day a similar session was held at 70 Clifton to which a large number of PPP
leaders were invited.
Mr. Bhutto spent the whole of 1969 in building up his contacts with the people.
On 13 November he put forward a demand that One Unit should be
dismembered. He warned that if the regime did not do this the masses of the
various provinces would take the matter in their own hands and break up West
Pakistan. On 21 November he addressed a meeting of party workers in Gharibo
Pakistan can progress only if its economy is based on the principles of
socialism. I advise the people to draw guidance from the Quran itself and
not to be misled by the clever and twisted observations of selfish and
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The same day he addressed a public meeting in Shandadkot and, talking in the
context of industry, said that the only factory he had was Pakistan and he was
interested only in its development, unlike other persons who had many mills
and factories which they used to exploit the people.
A grand PPP convention was held in Toba Tek Singh on 22 and 23 March 1970.
Mr. Bhutto could not attend it but he sent a stirring message to the organizers
and participants. In the last week of March he toured Sindh.
On 22 March Mr. Bhutto was busy in an electioneering tour of lower Sindh.
During this journey he addressed the people in Gharo, Kotri, Badin, Mirpur Khas,
Umarkot, Tando Allah Yar and Tando Adam and many other places that fell on
the way. When he reached Shandadpur on 30 March he was accorded a riotous
welcome by the people whom he later addressed in a public meeting. On 31
March he was to address gatherings in Sanghar (the stronghold of the Pir of
Pagara) in the morning and in Khipro in the evening. After spending the night in
Shandadpur rest house Mr Bhutto left for Sanghar, accompanied by prominent
leaders like Makhdoom Mohammad Zaman Talibul Maula, Mir Rasul Bakhsh
Talpur and Pir Ghulam Rasul Shah. All along the route he was greeted by
crowds with affection and devotion.
About two miles this side of Sanghar the party was met by the Deputy
Commissioner and the Superintendent of Police who told Mr. Bhutto that there
was political tension in the city and it would be advisable for him to avoid the
city for some time and go to the rest house. The trouble was that the road to the
rest house passed through the city itself. As Mr. Bhutto and party moved
towards the rest house they realized that they had been caught in a trap to
destroy them. A group of about 15 persons armed with rifles and hatchets was
confronting them. Others were hiding in trenches dug on both sides of the road.
These were Hurs of the Pir of Pagara and were shouting slogans extolling their
spiritual head. Some of the Pir’s followers who also were armed, had apparently
been following the party from Shandadpur. Suddenly, near the Sanghar stadium,
some more armed men emerged from a bungalow and started firing
indiscriminately. Mr Bhutto jumped out of his car and going up to the armed
men shouted at the top of his voice. “I am Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Kill me if you like.
Why are you firing at the poor people?”
On this the armed men turned their attention towards him. Shots rang out in his
direction. One bullet hit his cap, while a couple landed at his feet. His
companions dragged him to the ground and saved his life at the risk of their own.
But the lion-hearted leader extricated himself from the grip of his saviours and
again stood up to confront the hail of bullets and stones and other missiles. They
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then forced him into a car so that he Should be outside the range of his assailants
who were now firing at the car to puncture its tyres. Mr. Bhutto was trying to
jump out of the car, shouting, “Let me go and die with my people.”
Mr. Bhutto’s companions took the car towards Hyderabad. In Sanghar, where
the people were waiting for Mr. Bhutto to address them in the municipal park,
the venue of the public meeting was soon invaded by hooligans who started
beating up the audience. They also used firearms, and their shooting killed one
Ibrahim Chandio (Shaheed), a PPP worker. Sixty one persons were injured. Mr.
Bhutto called a press conference in Hyderabad and blasted to pieces the official
press note on the bloody events of that day. He said:
The government press note has described the incidents and attacks as just
a clash. This version is a tissue of lies. Radio Pakistan too has mentioned
them as an ordinary occurrence. Let me warn all concerned that if any of
these attacks succeeds, and I am killed during this struggle for restoration
of the people’s rights, the reaction of those who love me and are devoted
to me will be equally bloody and the waters of the Indus will go red.
Sanghar is not forbidden territory. I will soon go back and address a
public meeting there, and I shall not be cowed down by attempts on my
life. I shall carry on my mission fearlessly and go to all such places where
the down-trodden people’s economic and political rights have been
withheld from them.
On 28 March Yahya Khan issued the electoral programme. Simultaneously there
were country-wide protests against the murderous attack on Mr. Bhutto. In April
Mr. Bhutto commenced his election tours. From Karachi he went to the Frontier,
and then, passing through Balochistan, he reached Sindh at the end of June. On 1
July 1970 One Unit came to an end, and the same day in Hala opened a
conference of the PPP where it was decided to participate in the elections
The party let it be known on 24 July that Mr. Bhutto would contest the election to
the National Assembly from six seats: Larkana, Thatta, Badin, Lahore, Multan
and Dera Ismail Khan. After covering the Punjab and the Frontier, Mr. Bhutto
addressed a meeting in Karachi on 19 November. In the election campaign in
Sindh Abdul Waheed Katpar, Mumtaz Ali Bhutto, Abdur Razzaq Soomro and I
remained in the forefront. Actually at that time, every PPP candidate wanted Mr.
Bhutto to come to his constituency at least once, because they all thought that
would be a guarantee of success. A party candidate from Sukkur once came to
Mr. Bhutto and said, “If you only come and have a glass of water at my house I
am sure to win.” Mr. Bhutto was down with high fever and the doctors had
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advised him complete rest, but the next day he went in the same feverish
condition to Ghulam Mohammad’s house in Sukkur.
That month Mr. Bhutto broadcast his election speech over radio and television.
We were listening to it on the radio when all of a sudden a man was so moved by
it that he began to shout slogans in his favour. Another person protested that
how could he support Mr. Bhutto so vociferously without first hearing what he
had said in full. The two began to quarrel. At that moment Mr. Bhutto was
We are on the brink of destruction. A new class; the capitalist class,
though small in numbers, is looting national wealth without hindrance. In
contrast a vast majority of the population is without roti, kapra and makaan
and is suffering from the effects of unemployment which is increasing in
dangerous proportions in both the urban and rural areas. Our people have
been deceived. Their self-respect has been hurt. Their sentiments have
been put aside. They have been the victims of a grand deception. Can we
call them the lost generation? You can yourself choose the epithet. But the
question is; what of the future? Will the children of this woebegone
generation also go through lives of poverty and shame? The youth of
today has lost faith in the future. I tell you the Pakistan dream is not to
end in this semi-alive state of its people. The dream is still full of hope.
This dream was to culminate in a grand society in which everyone was to
share the fruits of welfare. It was to culminate in your prosperity, my dear
listeners, and of all those who are the victims of today’s extreme inhuman
exploitation. We shall have to end this intolerable state of affairs. It is our
moral duty to pull the masses of Pakistan out of the morass of poverty
and starvation. There was a time in Muslim history when. Hazrat Umar
had announced that even if a dog dies of hunger on the bank of the
Euphrates, the Caliph will have to account for it before the Almighty.
Here in Pakistan, the biggest Islamic state in the world, thousands of men
and women die of hunger. Our little children sleep on the roadside with
not even a shade over them. Our working class spends a life full of fear.
All this has to be changed.
On one of his election tours Mr. Bhutto was going somewhere from Larkana.
There was a large party of followers with him. On the way he saw an old man in
a dhoti carrying a bundle over his head and shouting “Jiye Bhutto!” as he walked
along. Mr. Bhutto stopped his car by his side and asked him,
“Have you seen Bhutto?”
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“No,” replied the man and again shouted “Jiye Bhutto!” Then Mr. Bhutto said to
him, “I am Bhutto.” The old man beamed with joy, lifted his hands to pray for
him and went on, again shouting “Jiye Bhutto!” I spent long hours with Mr.
Bhutto on his election campaign, and everywhere, whether it was Sukkur or
Hyderabad, Khairpur or Dadu, Nawabshah or anywhere else—wherever we
went we saw similar inspiring sights.
In the elections Shaikh Mujibur Rahman in East Pakistan and Mr. Bhutto in
Sindh and the Punjab toppled many old idols whose feet proved to be of clay. Mr.
Bhutto inflicted crushing defeats on his rivals in Sindh—Mohammad Ayub
Khuhro in Larkana, Najmuddin Leghari and Mir Bande Ali Talpur in Hyderabad,
and Yusuf Chandio in Thatta. He lost only to Maulana Mufti Mohammad in
Dera Ismail Khan, while he was the winning candidate in the other five
constituencies. Later, from the seat vacated by him in Hyderabad, Makhdoom
Amin Fahim was declared elected. While from the second seat in Larkana,
Mumtaz Ali Bhutto defeated Qazi Fazlullah. In Hyderabad Ijaz Talpur scored a
victory over Qazi Akbar and Talibul Maula routed Zulfiqar Jamot.
In these elections the Pir of Pagaro also had to face the ignominy of failure and
the slogan of the masses—even sometimes of his own Hurs—that “Our head for
the Sain but our vote for Bhutto” was proved to be true. Similarly in Dadu, Malik
Sikandar, the PPP nominee defeated G.M. Syed and Pir Saleh Shah. When the
result of the Larkana seat, from where Mr. Bhutto had convincingly routed Ayub
Khuhro, was received a mammoth crowed gathered outside the Bhutto residence.
Addressing them he said,
With your help and good wishes I have settled the account with Khuhro.
After defeating my father from this seat he had made him go to Bombay. I
will send him to the grave.
The election results dashed the hopes of Yahya Khan and his cronies. He could
not tamper with these results, but he began to dilly daily in respect of
transferring political authority to the elected representatives of the people. For
this purpose the two major parties, the Awami League and the PPP, were
converted into rivals and opponents. Yahya was sure that if bitterness and
enmity could mark the relationship between the Bengalis and West Pakistanis he
could prolong his military rule. At that time I was of the view—as I still believe—
that the East Pakistanis were as patriotic Pakistanis as anyone else, and they did
not want to leave the union. They had many justified complaints and grievances
which needed to be redressed. I had attended the 1962-63 session of the
Convention Muslim League in Dhaka in Mr. Bhutto’s company, and I had found
the Bengalis to be very much concerned about Pakistani. Once a few Bengali
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journalists came to Sindh to interview Mr. Bhutto. He called me and asked me to
take them to my village where he would presently follow.
The interview was conducted in the open air outside my house. It was Mr.
Bhutto’s habit that whenever he wanted to get away from his own tempestuous
style of life he would come to my village. There he would rest or listen to the
music of Sufi poetry as rendered by local singers.
In March 1971 when the talks between Yahya Khan, Mujibur Rahman and Mr.
Bhutto failed, Yahya, as President and Chief Martial Law Administrator and
Chief of the Army Staff launched army action in East Pakistan on a large scale.
All avenues of peace, understanding and compromise were closed, and the
Bengali people were obliged to take up arms against the regime.
When Yahya Khan saw that East Pakistan was as good as lost to him, he
appointed Mr. Bhutto Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister and sent him
to the UN to save Pakistan. During this period Yahya tried three times to hang
Mujibur Rahman in Mianwali jail for treason and mutiny, but every time Mr.
Bhutto intervened. He was of the view that if Mujib was killed his blood would
also drown Pakistan.
On 16 December 1971, at the bidding of Yahya Khan, the Pakistan armed forces
surrendered in Dhaka and, in this ignominious fashion, Pakistan was split into
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On 20 December 1971 Mr. Bhutto took the oath of office as President of Pakistan.
That day in the morning a PIA aircraft had landed at the Islamabad airport.
Dressed in a blue suit, Mr. Bhutto alighted from the plane and got into the car of
Ghulam Mustafa Khar. He was driven straight to the President’s House where he
talked with Yahya Khan for nearly two hours. Yahya signed his resignation. At
that moment J.A. Rahim, the acting Chairman of the PPP, and Mustafa Khar
were also present. Ghulam Ishaq Khan presided over the transfer of power. At
4.30 in the evening a limousine flying the presidential standard left the
President’s House. Mr. Bhutto had been duly sworn-in as President and Chief
Martial Law Administrator. He had to be CMLA too because, by merely taking
the oath of office as President a legal lacuna would have occurred for under
martial law the CMLA was Prime Minister of the country.
After the oath-taking ceremony, Mr. Bhutto addressed the nation on radio and
television. The essence of his speech was that the Pakistani nation was
confronted with the worst crisis in its history. Mr. Bhutto said we have to pick up
the pieces of a shattered country and from them build a new Pakistan.
Now it was no longer easy to meet Mr. Bhutto. He was up to his neck in
launching reforms of a miraculous nature. He told the correspondent of an
American daily, “If you Americans think that the first 100 days of President
Roosevelt were unmatched in history, just take a look at our 100 days.”
Within ten days of coming into power, on the 1 January 1972, Mr. Bhutto
nationalized ten basic heavy industries, including the emerald mines in Swat.
These included industries dealing with iron and steel, heavy engineering, petro-
chemicals, cement, power production, automobile manufacture and heavy
electrical equipment. On 10 February he announced a pro-worker labour policy.
This was followed by agrarian reforms on the 1 March. The same day the finance
ministry announced a substantial increase in the salaries of government servants.
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On 15 March, while making middle-level education compulsory under a new
education policy, some 3,000 private schools and colleges were also nationalized.
Then came the new health policy on 26 March. Reforms in the police and in the
judicial system were promulgated on 10 and 13 April respectively. The
achievements of the first 100 days were certainly more meaningful than those of
any administration in the world.
The process of political action and reforms also continued. Martial law was lifted
on 21 April and the Simla Agreement was signed on 2 July. The latter was a truly
epoch-making pact, for it enabled Pakistan to get back from India some 5,000
square miles of its territory and made the return of over 90,000 prisoners-of-war
possible. After a consensus arrived at by Mr. Bhutto’s efforts among all the
political parties of Pakistan, a new permanent constitution was adopted on 14
August 1973 and, instead of President, Mr. Bhutto became the Prime Minister of
More reforms were to come. On 1 January 1974, fifteen scheduled banks,
shipping companies and oil companies were nationalized. On 7 September the
National Assembly declared Ahmadis as non-Muslims, on which his old
opponent, Ayub Khuhro, complimented him that what couldn’t be done in
scores of years had been achieved by Mr. Bhutto in two years. On 30 December
1975 a pension scheme for labour and workers came into operation. On 8 April
Mr. Bhutto ended the sardari system in Balochistan. The same year, on 17 July,
some 2,000 units of the flour-milling and rice-milling industry were nationalized.
On 25 November there was another bunch of reforms in the police and a
women’s police force was instituted.
Mr. Bhutto made a drastic change in the agrarian reforms on 5 January 1977
when the limit of individual ownership of land was reduced from 150 acres for
canal-irrigated land to 100 acres and that of non-irrigated land from 300 acres to
200 acres. A kind of agricultural tax was introduced for the first time. Thus a
concession which was available to big landlords was withdrawn by a big
landlord himself. One result of these reforms was that the feudal class became
his enemy, while with his reforms in the administration he had already alienated
Despite his enormous engagements and day and night hard work, Mr. Bhutto
did not neglect his home province. Whenever he toured Sindh in his helicopter
he would send for me so that he could get acquainted at first hand with the
problems and difficulties of the people and try to resolve them. He would always
exhort party workers to keep abreast of the people’s problems and difficulties.
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Once there was a fire in Larkana which engulfed about 30 hutments and
thatched houses of the poor. Mr. Bhutto immediately called for a report from the
administration. The then deputy commissioner (Khalid Ahmad Kharal) sent a
report that the local officers had reached the scene of the conflagration on time
and saved the situation from becoming worse. However he complained that the
local PPP had not cooperated in the relief work. Mr. Bhutto couldn’t be expected
to remain silent and he wrote me to say that “the city was burning and you
people were fiddling like Nero.”
His letter left me astounded because the truth was just the opposite. The local
officials had rendered no appreciable help while party workers had reached the
spot at once and helped the sufferers to the best of their ability. I wrote back in
reply that he had been misled and that the administration’s report was incorrect.
I wrote that letter but in my heart of hearts I was afraid. The bureaucracy is a
power and it can be very mean and vengeful if it is frustrated. But fortunately Mr.
Bhutto had not relied solely on the deputy commissioner’s report and had also
learned about the real facts from other sources and was satisfied with my version.
Then he wrote back that he was coming to meet the people affected by the fire
and that I should be there too. He came to Larkana, went round the site of the
fire and announced help and compensation for the poor who had been left
homeless. But he made no mention of the DC’s report, and when I began to say
something he motioned me to remain silent. He knew the truth.
This incident gave rise to a cold war between the PPP workers and the
administration. Matters reached such a pitch that they began to reach Mr.
Bhutto’s ears. It was then rumoured that he was himself coming to Larkana to
resolve the running dispute. One day the D.C., Khalid Kharal rang up to say that
he wanted to come and see me. I said to him “Sain, why do you bother, but tell
me what is the matter. I’ll come over.” His reply was “I want to discuss
something with you.”
After a while I got to the D.C.’s office. The Superintendent of Police was also
there, sitting with Mr. Kharal. The latter said, “Don’t you want goodwill to
prevail between party workers and the administration in Mr. Bhutto’s home
“I certainly do,” I said firmly, “I do want an atmosphere of cordiality. If there is
confrontation between the two in Larkana itself, what will become of the rest of
“Then its OK,” said Mr. Kharal, “Its your duty now to let us know of the
problems of the citizens. We’ll solve them. This way there will be no conflict.”
82. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto; A Memoir, Copyright © www.bhutto.org 82
The next day Mr. Bhutto was in Larkana. He had been receiving information
about tension between his workers and the district administration and he wanted
to put and end to this state of affairs. When he saw me and the DC cooperating
with one another he was surprised and observed, “I had come here thinking that
a great storm was brewing in Larkana. Now, looking at you two working
together my worry is over.” After that for a long time there was no such problem
After the promulgation of agrarian reforms Mr. Bhutto was once distributing
land deeds among peasants to make them owners. He formally gave over the
ownership of a piece of his own land to a poor hari and then did the same with
the land of Mumtaz Bhutto and Ayub Khuhro. On that occasion he said in a loud
voice to all those present, “First of all I am giving away my own land so that
nobody can say that these reforms are not for Bhutto but for other landlords.
Your lands will be distributed after mine.”
During Mr. Bhutto’s tenure in office I got the opportunity twice to go abroad.
Soon before the Islamic Summit Conference I had accompanied Mr. Bhutto to
join in celebrating the national day of Sudan. Sudan’s head of state was deeply
impressed by the personality and ideas of Mr. Bhutto, and he said in his speech
on the national day, “The western world does not want us to develop. But as my
friend Bhutto says, if we can get some sincere friends we can do a lot for
In September 1975 I was sent as a member of the Pakistan delegation to the
United Nations. This was a three month stint. This kind of delegation was
dispatched every year to keep the UN posted about Pakistan’s stand on world
affairs. I was a member of the Fourth Committee and I did my best to repel the
accusations of India by which it wanted to implicate Pakistan in some of its own
actions against its own citizens.
When I returned after three months, I came to know that Mr. Bhutto was in
Sukkur in connection with a party convention. I went straight to the convention.
Since the proceedings were going on, and as I entered to find a seat for myself
there was a little dragging of chairs in a corner, Mr. Bhutto looked up and asked,
“What is it? Who has come?” When he was told that it was I he smiled and said,
“Chakar, good to see you are back. I had thought you had decided to stay on in
America.” Later when we met in private all that he had to say was, “Work, my
dear friend, work.”
As I have mentioned earlier, Mr. Bhutto had made many enemies because of his
progressive reforms, among them big landlords, senior bureaucrats, capitalists
83. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto; A Memoir, Copyright © www.bhutto.org 83
and monopolists of religion. Now these enemies were looking for opportunities
to strike at him effectively. On 11 November 1974, Nawab Mohammad Ahmad
Khan, father of Ahmed Raza Kasuri, was shot dead while returning from a
wedding reception. This murder was blamed on Mr. Bhutto on the plea that he
actually wanted Ahmad Raza Kasuri to be killed but the assailants missed him
and their shots hit his father. Mr. Bhutto ordered a high level enquiry into the
On 8 February 1975, one of Mr. Bhutto’s closest companions and a dear friend of
us all, Hayat Mohammad Khan died in a bomb blast in the Peshawar University.
The situation in the Frontier had always remained explosive; now the impression
became current that all this was being done to get rid of Mr. Bhutto. His enemies
wanted to ignore the reality that by virtue of giving the country a constitution
achieved through consensus in August 1973, he could remain in office till August
1978 when the next general elections would be due. To counter this state of
affairs and to silence his critics Mr. Bhutto announced general elections a year
ahead of schedule,—in March 1977. He did this to enable the nation to comment
on his policies and the achievements of his regime. The National Assembly was
disbanded on 10 January and election symbols were allotted to the various
parties on 17 January.
84. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto; A Memoir, Copyright © www.bhutto.org 84
The reality is now as clear as daylight that the conspiracy hatched in order to
deprive Mr. Bhutto of both his office and his life was the work of external as well
as internal enemies. It is also an incontrovertible fact that on the night between 4
and 5 July 1977 Mr. Bhutto’s regime and the opposition had reached an
agreement, but some forces could not countenance this and they sabotaged it.
The story has been told many times how Mr. Bhutto was arrested, how he was
framed in a murder case, how the judiciary played into the hands of a
dictatorship and committed his judicial murder and how (in Mr. Bhutto’s own
words) instead of dying as part of history he was killed by the Generals.
After July 1977, Mr. Bhutto was arrested for the third time on 17 September 1977.
This time the arrest took place under Regulation No. 12 of martial law and he
was not meant to be released.
Ten days later, on 26 September, I too was behind bars, also under a martial law
regulation. I was not bothered about my arrest my only worry was about Mr.
Bhutto’s safety. I was sent to Sukkur jail where Abdul Waheed Katpar was
already imprisoned. For two months we were not told, in so many words, what
were the charges against us. When I insisted on knowing these charges, we were
summoned to the office of the jail superintendent where an army colonel was
He said, “You are an MPA and an active worker of the People’s Party?” Then he
thrust a paper towards me and said, “You have to answer these charges within a
month.” I could sense the threat in his words, but I nonchalantly picked up the
paper and came back to my room. There, as I read through the accusations, I
burst out laughing. The accusations pertained to corruption. They purported to
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show that I was a defaulter of Habib Bank, Karachi, and I was supposed to have
obtained a plot in Karachi and lands in the interior of Sindh. According to the
charge-sheet, all there acts were illegal. My reply to the charges was in one word:
One day from our cell Abdul Waheed Katpar and I heard shouts of “Jiye
Bhutto!” We had hardly time to guess what was happening when the Jail
Superintendent entered our cell and said angrily, “You people have incited the
convicts. A young fellow is being flogged and with every lash he shouts Jiye
Bhutto.” Maybe the prison official thought that we had lit that fire in the young
man’s heart which was not letting his spirit get cold. The poor Superintendent
did not perhaps appreciate that the fire of spirit and determination lights itself
from within a person and cannot be infused from outside.
Immediately after this incident, the two of us were shifted to Hyderabad Central
Jail. There an army officer said to the Superintendent, “These two are special
prisoners of martial law. If anyone gets to see or meet them, you will get it in the
The period of tribulations and terrorization seemed endless. We used to receive
news about Mr. Bhutto but it was unconfirmed and sometimes contradictory. It
was much later that we heard about his sentence to death, his appeal to the
Supreme Court and that court’s endorsement of the sentence.
In a nearby barrack in the jail was Shahnawaz Junejo. We knew him through
party connections. When he came to know that we were being given the most
sub-standard food he started sharing his own food with us. One day as I was
having my meal the Jail Superintendent turned up. He looked at the clean and
wholesome food, obviously home-cooked, and said, “Where did this come
“This is from God,” I replied. “The food that you provide doesn’t even go down
after pronouncing bismillah.”
“Well,” said he, “if you can get good food we won’t bother to send you ours.”
We were always on the lookout to obtain morsels of news about Mr. Bhutto.
Since we were in solitary confinement we could not meet the other inmates of the
jail or even its officials. Sometimes when we were able to get a copy of Musawat
on the sly we managed to read some reports about him. As time passed, we
began to be convinced that he was not destined to come out of jail alive. General
Zia was ignoring appeals from all corners of the world. One day the rumour
reached us that selected companions of Mr. Bhutto were to be shot by the martial
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law authorities. But, let me repeat, we were not worried about our own selves;
we prayed day and night that Mr. Bhutto’s life may be spared.
But fate had willed otherwise. During the night between 3 and 4 April 1979, he
became a martyr, a shaheed. A month later we were released from prison.
We felt as if now there was no purpose left in life. It seemed meaningless. We
could not imagine a world without Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. We considered ourselves
the most unfortunate that after his shahadat we could not have a glimpse of our
beloved leader’s face. But when we learned that this ordinary courtesy had been
denied even to Begum Nusrat Bhutto and to his daughter Benazir, our grief in
this respect seemed insignificant.
In May 1979, after we were let out of jail we immediately left for Mr. Bhutto’s
village. When we neared it we found it in a state of siege. We were at once placed
under arrest and released after 18 days’ detention.
The third time that I found myself arrested was a few days later, when I was
apprehended on the road to my village. Reportedly, conditions were tense in
Larkana and the military regime did not want to risk any kind of disturbance.
But I found myself free after only two days.
87. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto; A Memoir, Copyright © www.bhutto.org 87
MR BHUTTO’S POLITICAL LEGACY
In the last days of May 1979 Begum Nusrat Bhutto and Benazir were released
and arrived at 70 Clifton. In Larkana, on 5 June, Benazir spoke before a wildly
enthusiastic crowd and said that the structure of the federation of Pakistan had
been erected on the constitution of 1973. Not an iota of this constitution, not a
single word in it could not be amended without the consent of the people—a
consent exercised through their elected representatives. Any attempt to do so
would mean that the whole structure will come down like a house of cards.
Benazir spent most of her time in Larkana meeting individuals and groups who
came to condole with her and share her grief. As I met her there for the first time
she was telling young men that Bhutto was not the name of just a human body;
he was the spirit of the times. In his person he was an ideology, a thought and a
whole philosophy of life which cannot be destroyed. On the face of it (she said) it
seemed that his person had been wrenched from his people, but his mission, his
ideas were indelibly carved on their hearts. The Shaheed had fought for
democracy, for wresting the rights of the people from dictators and imperialists
who had appropriated them and had finally given his life in that fight.
Difficult days, testing times, lay ahead for the courageous daughter of Shaheed
Bhutto. She was passing through them one by one. Imprisonment, torture,
exile—all these she saw. But at last she decided to come back home to her people.
When she reached Lahore on 10 April 1986, she received a rapturous welcome, a
welcome probably unmatched by any other in living memory. When the PIA
plane carrying her landed at Lahore at 6.40, hundreds of thousands of people,
mad with joy, were waiting for her outside the airport. I was one of these
hundreds of thousands who had come to greet the Shaheed’s daughter. As she
was covered by rose petals showered on her, she spoke to her people:
Marcos is gone. The dictator of Haiti had to go: Now the time has come for
another dictator to depart. Some people have advised me to give up
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politics. They say that I might meet the fate of my father and my brother.
My reply to them was that my supporters and the workers of my party
will protect me. I have voluntarily chosen to tread a path strewn with
thorns. I have stepped into the valley of death.
Benazir toured the cities of the Punjab from 10 April to 3 May. As her procession
was passing through Gujrat I too was in it riding on a truck. She was addressing
the crowd from another truck. Then she saw me and called me over to her truck.
She smiled and asked, “Chakar Sahib, were there so many people in my Baba’s
meetings and processions too?”
I replied, “It is not a question of you or Bhutto Sahib. All these hundreds of
thousands have gathered here for the sake of your father’s name. For the present
you are reaping what he sowed. When the time comes for you to reap your own
harvest, then we shall see.”
Benazir thought for a second, then she smiled and said, “You are right.”
It was April 1986 when Benazir had predicted the departure of the dictator. The
prediction came true in August 1988. For the general election of November 1988
Benazir placed me in charge of the election cell in Larkana. Abdur Razzaq
Soomro was looking after Begum Nusrat Bhutto’s constituency. At the time of
allotment of party tickets, Abdur Razzaq Soomro and I gave Begum Bhutto much
useful advice. Begum Sahiba was, a bit worried, for this was Benazir’s first
election and she was not sure what was going to happen. One day she asked me,
“Do you think the people will vote for the persons whom we have given the
I said, “Begum Sahiba, the votes are going to be cast in Mr. Bhutto’s name. You
may chose anyone as candidate, he is bound to win. The people consider their
ballot as a sacred gift from Bhutto.” And that is what happened. The People’s
Party was successful from all the seats in Larkana. I remember that whoever we
went to for votes his reply would invariably be, “Whatever you may be, a pir or a
landlord or something else, our vote is for the Bhutto name.”
After becoming Prime Minister, when Benazir came to pray at the grave of Mr.
Bhutto, I was present. As she saw me she said, “Chakar Sahib, get ready. I am
sending you as ambassador of Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates.” At that
time, in Larkana, hundreds of people looking for jobs had gathered around her,
but she and Begum Sahiba told them clearly that preference would be given to
those who have made sacrifices for the party. Thus an ordinary worker like me
was elevated to ambassadorship. And when she came into power again she
chose another dedicated worker for the same assignment.
89. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto; A Memoir, Copyright © www.bhutto.org 89
When Benazir’s government was overthrown in August 1990, I at once resigned
my post as ambassador in the UAE. When I got back home, she said to me,
“What was the need to resign? You could have stayed on.”
“How is it possible,” said I, “that you should be out of power and I should carry
on in somebody else’s government? I believe in going out with those who I came
with. And do you think those people would have trusted me?”
There is no doubt that Benazir is the political legacy of Bhutto Shaheed. I have
known Mr. Bhutto’s children, though not intimately. I saw his younger son
Shahnawaz when he was very small. Similarly when I once went to meet Mr.
Bhutto in Karachi he was playing with Sanam who was riding on his back. Mir
Murtaza I chanced to meet only when he was grown up and he and Mr. Bhutto
were present at a party soon after the promulgation of martial law in July 1977.
At that time Mr. Bhutto had just come from Murree where he had been interned.
Our next encounter was when Mir Murtaza returned from London and was
arrested soon afterwards. His voice reminded me of Mr. Bhutto. But it is Benazir
who possesses most of the characteristics of her father. Her very style is awami
like that of Mr. Bhutto. During the Simla Conference, Mr. Bhutto had said to
some people, “What I leave incomplete will be completed by my daughter.”
Benazir has adopted the political style of her father to a great extent. Indeed she
is Bhutto Sahib’s true legacy.